Richard B. Hoppe posted Entry 1919 on January 18, 2006 04:05 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1914

Last month Dave Thomas reported on the Fordham Foundation’s report on America’s science standards. In that report, Ohio got a “B” on the science standards overall, and a 3 (out of 3) on the treatment of evolution.

The authors of the Fordham evaluation were recently made aware of the implementation of the Benchmark and Grade Level Indicator in the form of a creationist “Critical Analysis of Evolution” model lesson plan adopted by the Ohio State Board of Education, and in particular they were made aware of the flaunting of the Fordham “B” grade by ID proponent Michael Cochran of the Ohio State Board of Education at its meeting on January 10, 2006. Cochran implied that the B grade meant that the Fordham evaluation somehow sanctioned the creationist lesson plan created to operationalize the Standards. The motion before the Board was to delete that lesson plan from the model curriculum; the Benchmark was not mentioned in the motion on the floor (summary of the Board meeting). In response, the authors of the Fordham report on science standards, led by Paul R. Gross, have issued this statement to the press in Ohio and nationally:

Ohio’s K-12 Science Standards and Evolution

In the recent report, “The State of State Science Standards” (Washington, DC: Thomas B. Fordham Institute, 2005), of which I am the lead author, we issued a grade of “B” for the Ohio standards. This was in recognition of documents unnecessarily long and with some errors, but dedicated, on the whole, to good and sufficient science content. My distinguished colleagues, members of the expert advisory committee, join me in the statement that follows.

The standards we reviewed present evolutionary biology well enough, and start it early enough, although the treatment is rather thin in relevant molecular genetics. In one benchmark, there is a mention of “critical analysis” of “aspects of evolutionary theory.” We gave Ohio the benefit of the doubt that such ordinarily innocuous words might raise in the current political climate. After all, modern evolutionary biology includes, in fact comprises, “critical analysis of evolutionary theory,” just as modern physics includes critical analysis of relativity and quantum theory. Serious science is a continuous critical analysis.

But the benefit of doubt we gave the benchmark may have been a mistake. Creationism-inspired “critical analysis” of evolutionary biology - as has been shown over and over again in the scientific literature, and recently in a Pennsylvania Federal Court - is neither serious criticism nor serious analysis. The newest version of creationism, so-called Intelligent Design (ID) theory, is no exception. Like its predecessors, it is neither critical nor analytic, nor has it made any contribution to the literature of science. Any suggestion that our “B” grade for Ohio’s standards endorses sham critiques of evolution, as offered by creationists, is false.

To the extent that model lessons are to be provided in Ohio as curricular guidance, lessons that refer favorably to, or incorporate, sham critiques of evolution, or bad science, or pseudo-science, the standards we reviewed are contradicted. That part of the state’s science education will be a failure. Moreover it will reflect badly on the entire standards undertaking, not just on biology and evolution. To devote scores of pages in the official standards to the principles of good science, and then to teach bad or pseudo-science in the classroom, is to defeat the very purpose of standards. If creationism-driven arguments become an authorized extension of Ohio’s K-12 science standards, then the standards will deserve a failing grade.

Paul R. Gross
University Professor of Life Sciences, emeritus
University of Virginia

So the question is whether creationism-driven arguments have become an authorized extension of the standards. The short answer is yes. The long answer follows below.

Analysis of the “Critical Analysis of Evolution” Model Lesson Plan

Ohio has a four-component system: At the top are Standards. Each Standard has associated Benchmarks and each Benchmark has associated Grade Level Indicators. Each Benchmark also has associated lesson plans in the Board’s Model Science Curriculum. The lesson plans in the model curriculum constitute operational definitions of the standards, benchmarks, and grade level indicators: they provide pedagogical guidance and content to fill out the skeleton formed by the higher levels in the standards hierarchy. The Fordham evaluation was of the standards and benchmarks, not the model curriculum. With one exception, we agree with the Fordham grade of “B” for Ohio’s Science Standards. The exception is one Benchmark, the so-called “Critical Analysis of Evolution”.

That benchmark, Benchmark H in Grade 9-10 Life Sciences, left an opening for intelligent design creationists to wedge in a model lesson plan that is comes directly out of creationist “challenges” to evolution. The Benchmark reads

H. Describe a foundation of biological evolution as the change in gene frequency of a population over time. Explain the historical and current scientific developments, mechanisms and processes of biological evolution. Describe how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory. (The intent of this benchmark does not mandate the teaching or testing of intelligent design.) (p. 138 of linked document; emphasis added)

The Grade Level Indicator associated with that Benchmark is

23. Describe how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory. (The intent of this indicator does not mandate the teaching or testing of intelligent design.) (p. 152)

That’s the hole in the fence that ID proponents drove their creationist lesson plan through.

The model lesson plan sets up mini-debates among students, one group taking the “evolution” side (“Sample Supporting Answer”) and another the challenging side (“Sample Challenging Answer”). The aspects are titled Homology, Fossil Record, Antibiotic Resistance, Peppered Moths, and Endosymbiosis. Veterans of the creationism wars will recognize all of them. The first four “Sample Challenging Answers” are straight out of Jonathan Wells’s Icons of Evolution (as were four more “aspects” dropped in the final version) , which (until a frantically scrubbed version was adopted by the OBOE) was among the recommended resources in the lesson plan. All have roots in Of Pandas and People. And in the end, all have clear antecedents in “creation science” – they are in fact some of the creationist criticisms of evolution that date back as far as Henry Morris’ 1974 Scientific Creationism. Here are a few extracts from the “Sample Challenging Answers”:

Homology
Some scientists think similarities in anatomical and genetic structure reflect similar functional needs in different animals, not common ancestry.

Oh? What scientists? No references are provided for that “some scientists”. And then there is

Fossil Record
Transitional fossils are rare in the fossil record. A growing number of scientists now question that Archaeopteryx and other transitional fossils really are transitional forms.

Anyone recognize that “growing number of scientists” locution? I wonder who they are. The “Sample Challenging Answer” identifies none.

And then

Peppered Moths
English peppered moths show that environmental changes can produce microevolutionary changes within a population. They do not show that natural selection can produce major new features or forms of life, or a new species for that matter—i.e., macroevolutionary changes.

Leaving aside the strange notion of “macroevolutionary changes”, there’s no mention of any claim that industrial melanism studies demonstrate “macroevolution” on the “Sample Supporting Answer”” side. The Sample Challenging Answer is a non sequitur meant only to cast generalized doubt on evolutionary theory.

And here’s the complete “Sample Challenging Answer” for the Endosymbiosis topic:

Endosymbiosis
Laboratory tests have not yet demonstrated that small bacteria (prokaryotic cells) can change into separate organelles, such as mitochondria and chloroplasts within larger bacterial cells. When smaller bacterial cells (prokaryotes) are absorbed by larger bacterial cells, they are usually destroyed by digestion. Although some bacterial cells (prokaryotes) can occasionally live in eukaryotes, scientists have not observed these cells changing into organelles such as mitochondria or chloroplasts.

Gosh. Is there no evidence at all for endosymbiosis? If we don’t see it occurring right now in a Petri dish, does that mean it did not and could not occur? Poor Lynn Margulis, apparently speculating wildly in the total absence of evidence.

It is of mild interest that among the “resources” for this lesson plan, the only reference to Lynn Margulis is a 1987 paper with Dorion Sagan in Natural History, Margulis’ name being mis-spelled as “Margoulis” in the lesson plan resources. There’s no more recent ‘resource’ on endosymbiosis. Students attempting to research it are screwed. Many of the places that mis-spelling of Margulis’ name turns up in a Google search (59 hits) in conjunction with “endosymbiosis” are in the Ohio Department of Education’s model lesson plan and sites referencing it. (This is also the lesson plan that in the original form presented to the Board had a fake reference, one that exists only as a title on several creationist web sites. It is evident that none of the authors of the lesson plan actually read the references.)

What did the Ohio Dept of Education know, and when did it know it?

So the lesson plan is bathed in creationist canards (more analyses of the lesson plan here). Did the Ohio Department of Education know that when it originally evaluated the lesson plan? Yes, it emphatically did know that. ODE documents obtained by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State Public Records Requests show that both internal and external science consultants and reviewers repeatedly alerted ODE managers to the numerous problems with the lesson plan. Some quotations from those documents

    “The sentence … is a lie.” (an ODE scientist referrring to the Fossil Record aspect “Sample Challenging Answer”; the lie is still in the lesson)
    “Not the real scientific world. The real religious world, yes!” (Outside Field Test Reviewer referring to the lesson plan as a whole)
    “As a tool to develop objective scientific critical thinking it is an insult.” (Outside Field Test Reviewer)
    “Not ‘scientific critical thinking’” (Outside Field Test Reviewer)
    “The lesson relies solely on the vacuous pedagogical tool of staged debate. There is no … value placed on intellectual growth or learning; rather, indoctrination is the apparent point of this lesson plan.” (Outside Field Test Reviewer)
    “ODE does not support this kind of teaching strategy.” (ODE Staff Member)
    “This should have been out. Horrible non-scientific citation.” (ODE Staff Member)
    “Teachers need more information about intelligent design; …” (Outside Field Test Reviewer)

Several of those suggest that ODE’s Field Reviewers knew what was going on, even if ODE managers claim they themselves didn’t know.

The sequence of titles of successive drafts of the model lesson plan is instructive, too. It went from “Macroevolution on Trial” (sound familiar?) to “Great Evolution Debate” to “Critical Analysis of Evolution”. New labels, old creationist content: old garbage in a shiny new trash can.

Ohio Citizens for Science is exploring whether it is permitted to web publish the ODE documents obtained via the PRR now. As and if we can do so, I will link to them here. They are juicy reading. As I mentioned earlier, the managers of the Ohio Department of Education who were feeding (or not!) information to the Board of Education will be the ones under oath facing those and other documents if it comes to litigation in federal court. Board Members on both sides of the controversy said in their meeting last week that they did not know of the kinds of comments about the lesson plan that ODE documents prove were made. Power in organizations derives from control of information. The Ohio State Board of Education may want to inquire into how the information flowing to them is controlled, and by whom.

Finally, consider the definition of “theory” in the lesson plan:

• Theory
A supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained.

It’s hard to comprehend how even a high school biology teacher (which is what the author is), aided by a tenured biology faculty member at the University of Akron (Dan Ely of the writing committee) could imagine that is what “theory” means in science. But the reason is clear: Both testified in the Kansas BOE creationist hearings, and both denied common descent in those hearings: they’re creationists.

I could go on, but while the supply of electrons is (nearly) unlimited, my patience is not. The lesson plan is a farrago of creationist distortions and misrepresentations. It was wedged into the model curriculum by intelligent design creationism proponents at the urging of the Disco Institute, to attempt to cast unjustified doubt on one of the strongest theories in science for purely sectarian reasons. The Disco Institute’s goal, as we all know, is

To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God.

The Trojan benchmark and creationist model lesson plan exist only in aid of that goal; they have no other reason for being.

Once again, the last sentence in the Fordham authors’ statement is

If creationism-driven arguments become an authorized extension of Ohio’s K-12 science standards, then the standards will deserve a failing grade.

As demonstrated above, and as Ohio Department of Education documents unequivocally show, the condition “If creationism-driven arguments become an authorized extension of Ohio’s K-12 science standards, …” is fully satisfied: Creationism-driven arguments are an authorized extension of the science standards. It follows that the standards do in fact deserve a failing grade.

The saddest part of this lesson plan fiasco is that the Ohio State Board of Education has set a “Dover trap” for every school district in Ohio. I have already heard remarks attributed to a creationist middle school teacher to the effect that he can “supplement” his teaching with creationist materials because the State Board says it’s OK. Well, it’s not OK. If that district is taken to court because of that creationist teacher, it will pay a price like that Dover, PA, will have to pay, now estimated to be on the order of $1 million. And by abandoning its responsibility for honest science education, the Ohio State Board of Education – the majority led by creationist thought leaders and the members they’ve dragged along with them – has passed the buck to the federal courts. Some members have resisted that push courageously. But it is not the pro-creationist State Board members who will pay the price. It will be some poor district in Vinton County or Holmes County or the like, where there are scant resources and teachers depend on the state’s model curriculum for guidance. That is an unconscionable act by the State Board’s pro-creationist thought leaders.

RBH

Commenters are responsible for the content of comments. The opinions expressed in articles, linked materials, and comments are not necessarily those of PandasThumb.org. See our full disclaimer.

Comment #73138

Posted by GT(N)T on January 18, 2006 7:59 AM (e)

Wow. Strong statement by Professor Gross. How can these people not be embarrassed to be the object of such censor by respected scientists and educators?

Dover was a sweet vistory. One that should be savored by all of you who gave of your time and your intellect to bring about. It was, however, just one of many battles that will have to be fought to hold the forces of ignorance and superstition at bay.

Comment #73139

Posted by Tom Curtis on January 18, 2006 8:08 AM (e)

Given that the pro-creationist advisors to and members of the state board of education have been negligent in formulating the model lesson plan; and given that local boards of education are likely to suffer financial loss of they follow the pro-creationist advise; is their any possibility that those pro-creationists would be personally liable for the losses?

Comment #73142

Posted by Raging Bee on January 18, 2006 8:23 AM (e)

Tom: maybe, if a pattern of deliberate fraud and deception against the state can be proven. I’m not sure about the law here, but it looks like an uphill battle, even if it’s for a good cause.

Comment #73147

Posted by steve s on January 18, 2006 8:53 AM (e)

The NYT has an article called “The Evolution
Wars, Revisited” behind the subscriber wall. Anyone got a TimesSelect login you can email me? stevestory@gmail.com

Comment #73149

Posted by Flint on January 18, 2006 9:10 AM (e)

But it is not the pro-creationist State Board members who will pay the price. It will be some poor district in Vinton County or Holmes County or the like, where there are scant resources and teachers depend on the state’s model curriculum for guidance.

After RBHs long and detailed explanation, I still have a question. Are the schoolteachers in Vinton or Holmes county *required* to preach creationism, because the lesson plan has been heavily salted with it? I can understand this sort of lesson plan basically being interpreted by creationist teachers as giving carte blanche to start pounding their pulpits in biology class. But are legitimate biology teachers required to follow suit?

For that matter, are the school administrators in Vinton or Holmes county, who are surely well aware of the Dover case (and cost), permitted to advise their teaching staff that following the lesson plan is guaranteed to result in an adverse legal decision and cost the school district a bundle, so don’t do it!.

Personally, I find it hard to believe that any non-creationist biology teacher could tolerate teaching Icons of Evolution or Pandas material. At the very least, it should violate their religious principles.

Comment #73150

Posted by Art on January 18, 2006 9:20 AM (e)

In the Ohio ID-inspired “Critical Analysis of Evolution” lesson plan (L10-H23), on the section on endosymbiosis, the author(s) state:

“Brief Supporting Sample Answer: Complex eukaryotic cells contain organelles such as chloroplasts and mitochondria. These organelles have their own DNA. This suggests that bacterial cells may have become established in cells that were ancestral to eukaryotes. These smaller cells existed for a time in a symbiotic relationship within the larger cell. Later, the smaller cell evolved into separate organelles within the eukaryotic ancestors. The separate organelles, chloroplast and mitochondria, within modern eukaryotes stand as evidence of this evolutionary change.”

The way the lesson plan is set up is to contrast the “pro-evolution” position with some problems with the position. The “Brief Supporting Sample Answer” is thus intended to represent the consensus position of the scientific community (IMO, at least). But the quoted section in this post is a flat-out misrepresentation, insofar as it implies that the consensus is that chloroplasts and mitochondria diverged from a common proto-organelle after the initial endosymbiotic event. (The last sentence is worse than this, as it mis-states entirely what we take as evidence.) Until I read this, I had never seen anyone anywhere propose such a thing, and I am pretty sure that the consensus is rather different.

This illustrates another problem with this lesson plan – not only are the alleged problems creationist-inspired flights of fancy, the supposed support for evolution is botched and mangled.

Comment #73155

Posted by Chris Caprette on January 18, 2006 9:29 AM (e)

GT(N)T wrote:
“Wow. Strong statement by Professor Gross. How can these people not be embarrassed to be the object of such censor by respected scientists and educators?”

Simple. The jerks in the SBOE are not scientists, not educators, have no scientific background and do not care what any scientists think of them. The head of the SBOE and some of the members are creationists, religious zealots following one doctrine of Christian extremism: that the ends (forcing all children to believe in their version of the literal truth of select parts of the bible) justify the means (lying, cheating, stealing). They flaunt their ignorance and call it good common sense.

Ohio has the unenviable condition of having many accredited universities per capita, many making significant contributions to scientific research, but a grossly ignorant populace controlling the state government. Consequently, people come to Ohio’s universities to get their degrees and then leave the state to get jobs and raise families. The brain drain in Ohio is a raging torrent.

By the way, if my students in a couple of the different universities where I’ve taught are to be believed, and I have no reason to doubt them, then many if not most of the rural school districts in Ohio teach biblical creation fables and flood mythology in their biology classes. They do not fear lawsuits because the populace that these schools (inadequately) serve are mostly poor, scientifically ignorant, and extremely Christian. Christian radio has metastasized throughout rural Ohio (and geographically speaking, most of Ohio is rural) with every station hosting one jerk or another ignorantly railing against the ‘evils’ of evolution. One of the three broadcast television stations we are able to receive at our home is a extremist Christian station and the network affiliates routinely run Creationist programming on weekend mornings - and this happens in the larger metropolitan markets as well. There are few places in Ohio to escape the stranglehold of biblical literalism and the oppression, ignorance, and poverty that inevitably follow. Ohio continues its economic death spiral (as the head of Ohio’s board of regents, Roderick Chu, put it), swirling down the bowl, and it is Christian extremism that soiled the water and pulled the handle.

Comment #73161

Posted by RBH on January 18, 2006 9:41 AM (e)

Flint asked

After RBHs long and detailed explanation, I still have a question. Are the schoolteachers in Vinton or Holmes county *required* to preach creationism, because the lesson plan has been heavily salted with it? I can understand this sort of lesson plan basically being interpreted by creationist teachers as giving carte blanche to start pounding their pulpits in biology class. But are legitimate biology teachers required to follow suit?

No teacher is required to use the model curriculum in general or that lesson plan in particular. However, if a creationist science teacher, or a non-degreed bio teacher desperate for materials, elects to use it, the kids in that classroom will have no choice. The teacher has a choice; the students don’t.

Flint asked further

For that matter, are the school administrators in Vinton or Holmes county, who are surely well aware of the Dover case (and cost), permitted to advise their teaching staff that following the lesson plan is guaranteed to result in an adverse legal decision and cost the school district a bundle, so don’t do it!.

Sure they are. But teachers are not the only school functionaries who are creationists, and, as the Ohio Board demonstrates, some of them do not give a damn if they’re sued. One hopes they’d show good sense, but I’ve learned over what is now becoming a reasonably long life to not depend on peoples’ good sense in planning.

RBH

Comment #73163

Posted by Russell on January 18, 2006 9:47 AM (e)

For those not paying close attention, the author of the creationist lesson plan was Bryan Leonard, the creationist high school teacher that organized (or was organized by?) a creationist PhD dissertation committee (whose composition ran afoul of the degree program rules) and almost got a PhD from Ohio State University for the “research” that “validated” the DI-supported stealth-creationist lesson plan. The dissertation defense was scheduled for June 6, 2005. Six months later, as far as I know, the dissertation is still on hold, and the university is still “investigating” the situation.

Comment #73164

Posted by Flint on January 18, 2006 9:50 AM (e)

RBH:

My point was that, in order for this lesson plan to be followed, would require BOTH a creationist teacher and a creationist school administration. So now I have another question: Where this has been the case, hasn’t some sort of stealth creationism been preached in high school biology anyway, all along? Is Chris Caprette right?

I’m wondering if these benchmarks and lesson plans, as implemented, might be a pretty good thing, because they march the creationist agenda and practices right out in the open where a court can take aim and hit them pretty squarely. Like our military, our courts aren’t well placed to fight a guerilla war against individual teachers’ emphases and selection of materials. The courts are much more suited for stand-up battles against stationary, organized targets.

Comment #73169

Posted by Laser on January 18, 2006 10:17 AM (e)

Chris Caprette wrote:

Ohio has the unenviable condition of having many accredited universities per capita, many making significant contributions to scientific research, but a grossly ignorant populace controlling the state government. Consequently, people come to Ohio’s universities to get their degrees and then leave the state to get jobs and raise families. The brain drain in Ohio is a raging torrent.

This is a factor why I moved out of Ohio. Not that I think that the problem can’t pop up anywhere…

Comment #73172

Posted by RBH on January 18, 2006 10:24 AM (e)

Flint asked

My point was that, in order for this lesson plan to be followed, would require BOTH a creationist teacher and a creationist school administration. So now I have another question: Where this has been the case, hasn’t some sort of stealth creationism been preached in high school biology anyway, all along? Is Chris Caprette right?

In my experience, yes, Chris Caprette is right.

Flint remarked

I’m wondering if these benchmarks and lesson plans, as implemented, might be a pretty good thing, because they march the creationist agenda and practices right out in the open where a court can take aim and hit them pretty squarely. Like our military, our courts aren’t well placed to fight a guerilla war against individual teachers’ emphases and selection of materials. The courts are much more suited for stand-up battles against stationary, organized targets.

That’s probably true as a tactical point. However, while the necessity is sometimes compelling, in general the federal courts are not a real good venue for setting educational policy, and I would much prefer that the Ohio State Board of Education display leadership in emphasizing honest science education. As I noted, some members have done so, in some cases to their political peril, but the majority, composed of the two thought leaders and the members they’ve dragged along with them, have not done so.

One might legitimately ask why some members who are not themselves creationist ideologues follow along with the ideologues. It varies from member to member, and no generalizations are possible as far as I can see. However, one reason is political coercion, and I hope soon to have a post with some specifics on how that kind of coercion has been exercised on and against the Ohio BOE.

RBH

Comment #73178

Posted by Albion on January 18, 2006 10:59 AM (e)

RBH:

My point was that, in order for this lesson plan to be followed, would require BOTH a creationist teacher and a creationist school administration.

Not necessarily. A friend of mine who was an art teacher in a West Virginia school was teaching biology after the regular teacher left (not that he had any particular knowledge about biology, but he was the one with enough free time to take on the extra work), and he was told by the headmaster that he wasn’t to mention anything about evolution or anything else that might make the children uncomfortable. I don’t recall if he was actually asked to teach creationist biology, but it was made clear to him that if he went into that classroom and supported evolution, he’d be looking for a job shortly thereafter.

Comment #73182

Posted by Flint on January 18, 2006 11:03 AM (e)

people come to Ohio’s universities to get their degrees and then leave the state to get jobs and raise families. The brain drain in Ohio is a raging torrent…

one reason is political coercion, and I hope soon to have a post with some specifics on how that kind of coercion has been exercised on and against the Ohio BOE.

Political coercion ultimately takes the form of votes, and if Chris is right, the State of Ohio is self-selecting a population of slope-browed, knuckle-dragging ignorati. And if Dawkins is right, we have a feedback effect where those who do not escape this virus become carriers themselves.

I agree that the courts are not where education policy should be set. They are, however, quite suitable for establishing what schools can NOT teach. Unfortunately, I’d willing to predict that even a Supreme Court decision echoing the Dover decision in detail, is not going to prevent creationists from preaching in Ohio classrooms. As RBH notes, creationists are congenitally undeterred by facts, laws, or costs. The only workable solution to the Ohio problem for the victims, as Chris implies, is to leave the state.

I’ve read periodically about cases here in Alabama where local districts have been sued, lost, owe the court costs, and have owed them for *generations*. They never pay up. Sometimes they have also lost subsequent suits trying to get them to pay up, and aren’t paying the cost of those losses either. What are you going to do, throw all the voters in jail? Any political candidate who even suggested paying up has no chance of election.

Albion:

Yes, I agree, but I had hoped to draw a distinction between preaching creationism, and simply ducking the entire issue. My understanding is that avoiding the topic of evolution is the default behavior in many if not most school districts nationally, simply to avoid all these legal hassles.

So the teacher in your case wouldn’t follow the lesson plan either, I think. Although you may be right, there may be school administrations who say “preach my religion in your science class or you’re fired.” Creationists as I understand them wouldn’t have any problem with this at all. They’d applaud.

Comment #73193

Posted by Matthew Thompson on January 18, 2006 11:31 AM (e)

Just to be clear, in re homology, most (if not all) evolutionary biologists in fact believe that “similarities in anatomical and genetic structure reflect similar functional needs in different animals, not common ancestry”. Functional convergence is commonplace and obvious – a brief look at fishes and marine mammals will give students the right answer without even knowing what “scientists” think.

It’s a stupid question, and it’s misleading, but it’s also non-controversial.

Comment #73194

Posted by Greg H on January 18, 2006 11:32 AM (e)

And these cases are exactly the reason why politicians have no reason setting education guidelines.

Comment #73202

Posted by JONBOY on January 18, 2006 11:59 AM (e)

I would consider that many of the school authorities around the country are feeling the heat right now,I have found several of them to be quite disingenuous when approached by the media.When asked for her comments on the recent Kitzmiller v DSB trial,the local schools superintendent in my district stated that” We are teaching evolution in our science classes and any questions regarding ID are discussed in our humanities classes” This was a totally false statement, I knew for a fact that the E word was hardly ever used in any science class and that ID is being openly discussed within those classes.
After many letters and repeated phone calls, I eventually was able to express my concerns to her, and draw attention to the legal ramifications that may ensue.(not to mention the substandard education for her students).After a lot of arm waving and being evasive, she admitted to me(of the record)that there was a great deal of pressure on her and on the teachers, from parents and students alike.”Its a balancing act, I just find it hard to upset the status quo.” I wonder how many others are finding it hard to upset the status quo?

Comment #73220

Posted by harold on January 18, 2006 1:04 PM (e)

Matthew Thompson -

“Just to be clear, in re homology, most (if not all) evolutionary biologists in fact believe that “similarities in anatomical and genetic structure reflect similar functional needs in different animals, not common ancestry”. Functional convergence is commonplace and obvious — a brief look at fishes and marine mammals will give students the right answer without even knowing what “scientists” think.”

That’s a good point, but what do they mean by “similarities in…genetic structure”?

Obviously, anatomical similarities sometimes reflect convergent evolution, and recent common ancestry can be masked by superficial anatomic dissimilarities.

But overall, the question is too poorly worded to really make sense. It seems to imply that genetic homology - which usually does imply common ancestry, to put it mildly - has the same implications as anatomic convergence.

And it seems to imply that convergent evolution is evidence against evolution, which is bizarre. Why do modern dolphins look like fish, when their ancestors didn’t?

Comment #73227

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on January 18, 2006 1:22 PM (e)

How can these people not be embarrassed to be the object of such censor by respected scientists and educators?

BTW, the correct word is “censure” not “censor”.
http://www.hyperdictionary.com/search.aspx?define=censor
http://www.hyperdictionary.com/search.aspx?define=censure

Comment #73259

Posted by Aagcobb on January 18, 2006 4:01 PM (e)

Given that the pro-creationist advisors to and members of the state board of education have been negligent in formulating the model lesson plan; and given that local boards of education are likely to suffer financial loss of they follow the pro-creationist advise; is their any possibility that those pro-creationists would be personally liable for the losses?

No, in the United States, people serving on quasi-legislative boards typically have absolute immunity from suit for civil damages. If you think about it, this is a good thing. If people could threaten to financially ruin school board members through a civil suit, creationists would certainly use this tactic to keep evolutionary theory out of the science classroom. The mere threat of financial ruin would be enough to intimidate many people, not to mention the cost of hiring an attorney if the state wouldn’t provide a defense.

Comment #73261

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 18, 2006 4:04 PM (e)

RE: Flint’s thoughts about economics and law.

I just finished reading an AP article in the local paper about the Kern ID class.

It finished by by paraphrasing the Superintendent of that district, John Wright:

Superintendent John Wright defended the concept of the class, but said that concern about expensive litigation was one of the reasons the cash-strapped district settled.

The class was clearly not about the “philosophy of design” or even comparative religion, but rather about purely denigrating evolutionary theory and teaching creationism instead. Nobody disputed that. However, having a superintendent saying that he defends the “concept” of the class just supports the idea that unless there WAS an issue of economics, he apparently would have been more than happy to waste everyone’s time and money to have this become yet another federal court case.

so, while philosophically i agree with you, that economics shouldn’t decide issues like this, it is just as readily apparent that common sense and reason wouldn’t have decided it either.

so, while not the perfect solution, I personally can accept a settlement in this case being decided upon the unwillingness of the superintendent to further defalate the local district’s funding.

at least that shows SOME sense, if not educational in nature.

I don’t see this as an abuse of economics in suppressing a legitimate case, but rather a lucky break for all involved (including the superintendent) that it did at least play a role.

Comment #73266

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 18, 2006 4:13 PM (e)

make that deflate, not “defalate” (ugh).

Comment #73276

Posted by Flint on January 18, 2006 4:34 PM (e)

so, while not the perfect solution, I personally can accept a settlement in this case being decided upon the unwillingness of the superintendent to further deflate the local district’s funding.

But meanwhile, I suppose the local biology/gym teacher will go right on preaching creationism in science classes. Just as they have for 100 years. So the question is, would a Supreme Court decision matching the Dover decision change this practice in any substantive way? Having an ACLU stringer auditing every biology class nationwide smacks an awful lot of the thought police…

Comment #73281

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 18, 2006 4:45 PM (e)

So the question is, would a Supreme Court decision matching the Dover decision change this practice in any substantive way?

A different question than the economic one, but I think the answer to that on the face of it is obvious.

yes and no (lol).

given 20 years since the Supreme court did, in fact, decide on this very issue, and we now have the exact same level of debate regarding “ID”, we can conclude that no matter what the law says, there will be True Believers™ who will always interpret that it doesn’t apply to them.

However, at least if the supremes did rule on it again, it might take another 20 years before we reach the same state again.

It also would add ammunition for those teachers in heavily creationist oriented districts that actually WANT to teach evolutionary theory and decent science.

They need all the help they can get!

Having an ACLU stringer auditing every biology class nationwide smacks an awful lot of the thought police…

no more than having armed guards in high schools to help prevent school shootings smacks of making our high schools “prison camps”.

However, having an “ACLU stringer” (not sure exactly what that means, actually) in every class doesn’t sound practicable.

instead, i would certainly hope that the parents who are concerned their kid’s get a decent education would stand up and use legal rulings as ammunition in their own defense.

In that sense, at least, legal rulings would serve as substantive in this “debate”.

Comment #73283

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 18, 2006 4:49 PM (e)

this all presumes that the supremes, if ID got that far, would rule on it in the same way they did on “creation science”.

With the addition of “scalito”, as several (including yourself, i think) have pointed out, this isn’t quite as sure a bet as one might hope.

In which case, one would start to think that the reverse decision would be used in quite a substantive fashion by those who favor the teaching of ID, yes?

Comment #73291

Posted by Flint on January 18, 2006 5:11 PM (e)

ST:

Here’s what a stringer is, with the law enforcement version coming as close as any. The implication is an informant who provides solid evidence of something in exchange for payment, but does not draw any salary. It could take the form of an agreement by the ACLU to pay $10 to any student who could produce hard evidence.

In my legal classes, I once took a course analyzing the impact that Supreme Court decisions actually have. These impacts vary from considerable, to zilch. Like you, I’d hope that such a decision would help real teachers in creationist strongholds, but I’m not all that optimistic.

To be honest, I haven’t the slightest clue how many creationists teachers are keeping their faith hidden while teaching evolution. I find the thought incongruous; I haven’t met any creationists who could do such a thing and still answer to God at their next prayer.

Comment #73298

Posted by AC on January 18, 2006 5:28 PM (e)

Flint wrote:

Having an ACLU stringer auditing every biology class nationwide smacks an awful lot of the thought police.

I know what you mean, but it really comes down to just plain policing, as in preventing and correcting violations of law. Fools, of course, will believe whatever they want regardless, and would surely cry “thought police!”, forgetting that they are perfectly free to preach religion, just not in public schools. Not to mention that they are free to think whatever they want wherever they are.

When the religious begin resembling barbarians at the gate, I’m starting to think the wall separating church and state needs archers in the crenellations.

Comment #73308

Posted by Russell on January 18, 2006 5:46 PM (e)

I haven’t the slightest clue how many creationists teachers are keeping their faith hidden while teaching evolution. I find the thought incongruous; I haven’t met any creationists who could do such a thing and still answer to God at their next prayer.

Well, our friend Bryan Leonard (author of the controversial lesson plan) testified in Kansas that he teaches his students the 4.5 billion year old earth - even though he’s a YEC. But since the god he answers to is the one envisioned by the Disco Institute, a little artful dodging is nothing to be ashamed of; it’s probably considered positively holy.

Comment #73322

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 18, 2006 6:40 PM (e)

To be honest, I haven’t the slightest clue how many creationists teachers are keeping their faith hidden while teaching evolution. I find the thought incongruous; I haven’t met any creationists who could do such a thing and still answer to God at their next prayer.

I haven’t met any creationists who could keep their mouth shut about their religious opinions. No matter WHERE they are.

Comment #73328

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 18, 2006 6:52 PM (e)

given 20 years since the Supreme court did, in fact, decide on this very issue, and we now have the exact same level of debate regarding “ID”, we can conclude that no matter what the law says, there will be True Believers™ who will always interpret that it doesn’t apply to them.

Indeed, the fundies themselves will not go away. Ever. They are like cancer. Eternal.

But …

The IDers are utterly completely absolutely totally dependent upon the Republican Party for any and all political power that they have. The reason we are re-fighting the creationist fight 25 years later is simple —- the loony Right Republicans are still in power, and are still kissing fundie ass. As long as they do, the fundies will still have a bully pulpit.

I think that will not be true 25 years from now.

First, the Repubs themselves are showing definite signs of flipping the proverbial bird at the fundies. After all, the R’s have had complete control of the House, the Senate, the White House and most of the courts – and they STILL have not passed any substantive part of the fundie social agenda. The reason is obvious – they don’t WANT to. The Repub’s know just as well as I do that nobody supports the fundie agenda, and passing it would be political suicide. Hence, the Repubs treat the fundies the same way that the Demos treat the, uh, “labor movement” — they make lots of speeches at rallies to give them lip service, they happily take their votes and their money, and then they don’t actually DO jackshit for them.

On top of that, the Repubs themselves are in serious trouble. The Neocon glory boys shot themselves in the head, fatally, with their little Iraq adventure. The Bush-ites have the lowest approval rating they have ever had, and as we learn more about all the naughty illegal things that the pooh-bahs have been doing, that’ll sink even lower. The corporados, who have always been the real power behind the Repubs, don’t want the fundies to get into their pocketbooks — theocracy is bad for business.

I think the whole loony Right is on the ropes, and they know it. In 25 years, I doubt they will remain any sort of effective political movement. And as they sink, so too do their ID hangers-on.

Comment #73337

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on January 18, 2006 7:12 PM (e)

The reason is obvious — they don’t WANT to. The Repub’s know just as well as I do that nobody supports the fundie agenda, and passing it would be political suicide.

Not only that, once they’d passed it, they wouldn’t have anything to bash the opposition and rally the faithful with. As long as the goal remains in the future, it’s a campaign issue. Defending it once it’s accomplished is much harder. To quote Mr. Spock, “…’having’ is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as ‘wanting’.”

Comment #73347

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 18, 2006 8:11 PM (e)

Not only that, once they’d passed it, they wouldn’t have anything to bash the opposition and rally the faithful with. As long as the goal remains in the future, it’s a campaign issue. Defending it once it’s accomplished is much harder. To quote Mr. Spock, “…’having’ is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as ‘wanting’.”

Yea verily.

That is also why the Loony Right, depsite its near-total political domination, still likes to whine and weep about how much of a poor oppressed beleaguered political outsider it is and how terribly unfair everyone is towards it.

Comment #73375

Posted by Mike Z on January 18, 2006 9:15 PM (e)

An interesting thing I saw in the “model lesson plan” was the list of resources to which the students are referred. E.g. Journal of Molecular Evolution, Nature, Science, Acta Paleontologica Palonica, etc.

These are tenth graders–I can’t imagine that they could handle such journals. Is that typical for these kinds of lesson plans?

Comment #73377

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 18, 2006 9:26 PM (e)

I am reluctant to post any long messages on rbh’s threads because he has already closed an active thread, cutting off discussions in progress. I am posting this message only because it was prepared previously.

The Fordham Foundation (no connection to Fordham University) rates all of science education – not just education about evolution. Evolution is worth only 3 points out of a maximum possible 69 points in the overall rating of a state’s science education standards.

The year 2005 Fordham report on state science standards is on –
http://www.edexcellence.net/institute/publication/publication.cfm?id=352&pubsubid=1178

The executive summary of this report has a map showing how the states (except Iowa) were rated on the teaching of evolution theory – Kansas was the only state to get an off-the-scale rating of “not even failed” (LOL). The individual overall state science standards report for Kansas was written before the school board’s recent ruling on intelligent design, so the state’s rating on evolution was 3 points out of a maximum possible 3, with the maximum possible overall score being 69. The rating categories are mostly vague, e.g., quality, seriousness, and organization. Evolution was the only scientific subject with its own rating .

The following critique panned the year 2000 state ratings of the Fordham Foundation -
http://www.asu.edu/educ/epsl/EPRU/peer_reviews/cerai-00-07.htm

“The Fordham Foundation has produced system for rating states’ standards, the validity of which is not at all obvious. The procedures for determining the rankings are unclear and, therefore, difficult to replicate. The qualifications of the “experts” whose expertise was used in some unspecified way is questionable. If the system had some immediately obvious merit, these objections would be of no import. When one looks, however, at the most immediately obvious place for validating the system – the academic performance of the states – one finds absolutely no correlation. States with well received standards score low, states labeled as “irresponsible” because of their “lousy” standards score high. Taking this report seriously could well lead reformers down blind alleys or toward questionable ends.”

State standards are just general guidelines — there are so many other factors involved. And the Fordham report was based almost entirely on vague, highly subjective ratings. I think that student scores on standardized tests are the only dependable measures of achievement.

Comment #73380

Posted by csa on January 18, 2006 9:43 PM (e)

RBH, do you know when this Fordham update will be published in the media? I’ve been unable to find it elsewhere so far.

Comment #73382

Posted by RBH on January 18, 2006 9:58 PM (e)

LArry wrote

I am reluctant to post any long messages on rbh’s threads because he has already closed an active thread, cutting off discussions in progress. I am posting this message only because it was prepared previously.

I closed it because it had derailed far from the OP, and the Bathroom Wall had not yet re-opened. Now that the BW is open, derailments will go there forthwith.

RBH

Comment #73391

Posted by RBH on January 18, 2006 10:07 PM (e)

Mike Z asked

An interesting thing I saw in the “model lesson plan” was the list of resources to which the students are referred. E.g. Journal of Molecular Evolution, Nature, Science, Acta Paleontologica Palonica, etc.

These are tenth graders—I can’t imagine that they could handle such journals. Is that typical for these kinds of lesson plans?

The resources are intended for teachers as well, to allow them to find background information. That said, the “resources” for the “Critical Analysis” lesson plan were a mess in the form originally submitted to the Board for adoption, and aren’t much better in the form adopted after frantic scrubbiong by ODE after we called attention to them in a Board meeting. There were (and still are, as Mike Z noted) a slew of highly technical and often inaccessible references, many outdated by 30 years, and there was even a fake paper, one that exists only in citations on a couple of obscure creationist web sites but does not exist in the journal to which it was attributed.

Originally each “aspect” had a couple of recommended resources attached to it. Some of them were inaccessible outside a major university, one was fake, and some had zero to do with the “aspects” to which they were attached. The inference is plain: the authors of the lesson plan had themselves never read the resources, but rather had collected likely-sounding titles that might (as titles alone) cast some unjustified doubt on evolutionary theory, and stuck them into the lesson plan more or less randomly.

RBH

Comment #73392

Posted by Henry J on January 18, 2006 10:07 PM (e)

Lenny,
Re “I haven’t met any creationists who could keep their mouth shut about their religious opinions. No matter WHERE they are.”
Ah, but if they kept their mouths shut, how would you know that they were creationists? ;)

Henry

Comment #73393

Posted by RBH on January 18, 2006 10:11 PM (e)

csa asked

RBH, do you know when this Fordham update will be published in the media? I’ve been unable to find it elsewhere so far.

Several Ohio papers have picked it up – the Dayton Daily News had a story yesterday (I don’t have a URL handy; sorry). I haven’t heard of others, though I’ve had correspondence and phone calls in the last two days from reporters at several other Ohio papers. This statement just came out late Monday afternoon, when the major newspapers in Ohio were notified of it.

RBH

Comment #73409

Posted by mjw on January 19, 2006 12:18 AM (e)

From the Ohio lesson plan:

Although some bacterial cells (prokaryotes) can occasionally live in eukaryotes, scientists have not observed these cells changing into organelles such as mitochondria or chloroplasts.

But we do have observations of eukaryotic organelle endosymbioses in the process of changing into organelles:

Okamoto N, Inouye I. “A secondary symbiosis in progress?”, Science. 2005 Oct 14;310(5746):287

It is a short description of a flagellate, tentatively named Hatena, that appears to be acquiring a plastid (chloroplast) by secondary endosymbiosis. A number of eukaryotic groups have acquired plastids by secondary endosymbiosis (where the endosymbiont is itself a eukaryote):

Okamoto et.al. wrote:

Four algal divisions (Dinophyta, Cryptophyta, Heterokontophyta, and Haptophyta) plus one parasitic phylum (Apicomplexa) acquired red algal plastids, and two algal divisions (Chlorarachniophyta and Euglenophyta) acquired green algal plastids..

Dinoflagellates show 5 different plastid endosymbioses, some possibly tertiary, with varying degrees of genomic transfer from the endosymbiont into the host nuclear genome:
Hackett, Jeremiah D., et. al. “Dinoflagellates: a remarkable evolutionary experiment”, American Journal of Botany. 2004;91:1523-1534.

Good stuff, and reasonably comprehensible to even a comp sci person such as myself. Just wanted to pass these references on. Relurking now….

Comment #73418

Posted by Mike Z on January 19, 2006 1:01 AM (e)

RBH-
Thanks. I have read only a few of the references they list, but (as you suggest) it does seem that they went for titles that appear to indicate fundamental debate over the status of evolution, regardless of the actual content of the work.

E.g. “Evolutionary Theory Under Fire” in Science, and “Rooting of the Tree Of Life is Unreliable” in J. Molec. Evol.

Comment #73456

Posted by Ed Darrell on January 19, 2006 5:07 AM (e)

RBH said:

The resources are intended for teachers as well, to allow them to find background information. That said, the “resources” for the “Critical Analysis” lesson plan were a mess in the form originally submitted to the Board for adoption, and aren’t much better in the form adopted after frantic scrubbiong by ODE after we called attention to them in a Board meeting. There were (and still are, as Mike Z noted) a slew of highly technical and often inaccessible references, many outdated by 30 years, and there was even a fake paper, one that exists only in citations on a couple of obscure creationist web sites but does not exist in the journal to which it was attributed.

Perhaps one of the real, live biology researchers/teachers who frequents this site could assemble a list of real citations to accompany the flawed lesson plan? I realize, of course, that a list of usable citations on the point would tend away from the point the Ohio education authorities had intended – but in a fair fight, the truth wins, Ben Franklin said. And we’re just a couple of days after Ben’s 300th birthday anniversary, right?

I am reminded that Darwin’s task aboard the Beagle was to assemble the scientific data to prove, once and for all, that Genesis is correct. Once he got the data all put together, the story they told was incredibly compelling – but somewhat different from what his benefactor had intended or hoped.

Perhaps an Ohio biology teacher, or even one of her students, who chases down the actual, good sources, might see something.

Comment #73467

Posted by GT(N)T on January 19, 2006 6:47 AM (e)

“BTW, the correct word is “censure” not “censor”.”

Quite right. Spell check catches mis-spellings, not incorrect usage.

Comment #73470

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 19, 2006 7:11 AM (e)

Ohio: Fordham Evaluation Authors Weigh In
Richard B. Hoppe posted Entry 1919 on January 18, 2006 04:05 AM
(opening post in thread)

The Grade Level Indicator associated with that Benchmark is

23. Describe how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory. (The intent of this indicator does not mandate the teaching or testing of intelligent design.) (p. 152) (emphasis added)

That’s the hole in the fence that ID proponents drove their creationist lesson plan through.

The model lesson plan sets up mini-debates among students, one group taking the “evolution” side (“Sample Supporting Answer”) and another the challenging side (“Sample Challenging Answer”).

In regard to intelligent design, the Ohio board of education had the following choices –

(1) Silence
(2) Requiring the teaching of ID
(3) Prohibiting the teaching of ID
(4) Saying that teaching ID is not required
(5) Saying that teaching ID is not prohibited
(6) Saying that teaching ID is neither required nor prohibited

The Ohio board chose to say that teaching ID is not required. If the Ohio board could be sued for saying that, then the board could also be sued for silence, because silence is tantamount to saying that the teaching of ID is not required. I think that the board’s statement is appropriate, because otherwise the standards might be interpreted as requiring the teaching of ID.

I think that the biology textbooks that are chosen are far more important than the standards ( I don’t know if there are statewide textbooks or if the individual school districts or schools choose their own textbooks). I doubt that any of the “sample supporting answers,” “sample challenging answers,” or word definitions in the Ohio state standards are actually going to be taught in science classes – these things in the standards are just examples. I think that many people are trying to make the Ohio set of standards into something more than it is.

I believe that the majority of the public wants evolution theory to be taught straightforwardly, without distortion. And I believe that the majority of the public wants criticisms of evolution theory – such as irreducible complexity – to also be taught, straightforwardly. Anyway, that is my own view of how evolution theory should be taught – straightforwardly along with straightforward criticism.

Once again, the last sentence in the Fordham authors’ statement is –

“If creationism-driven arguments become an authorized extension of Ohio’s K-12 science standards, then the standards will deserve a failing grade.”

I think that the Fordham Foundation’s reports give too much weight to state standards in evaluating the quality of science education in each state. I think that what really counts is student performance on standardized achievement tests.

The saddest part of this lesson plan fiasco is that the Ohio State Board of Education has set a “Dover trap” for every school district in Ohio. I have already heard remarks attributed to a creationist middle school teacher to the effect that he can “supplement” his teaching with creationist materials because the State Board says it’s OK. Well, it’s not OK. If that district is taken to court because of that creationist teacher, it will pay a price like that Dover, PA, will have to pay, now estimated to be on the order of $1 million.

As I stated above, silence by the State Board could be interpreted as an OK, too. And I don’t see why a school district or a school board should be held responsible for the actions of a single teacher. I don’t see why the teacher cannot be sued as an individual. And there is no reason why all anti-ID lawsuits should cost as much as the Dover lawsuit. For example, the El Tejon lawsuit in California cost the school district nothing or very little, because there was an immediate out-of-court settlement.

Comment #73476

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 19, 2006 7:56 AM (e)

Ah, but if they kept their mouths shut, how would you know that they were creationists? ;)

I’ve dealt with them for so long that I can smell them from all the way across the room.

;)

Comment #73496

Posted by AC on January 19, 2006 9:49 AM (e)

Henry J wrote:

Ah, but if they kept their mouths shut, how would you know that they were creationists? ;)

Easy: their heads would be missing, having exploded from not preaching.

Comment #73504

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 19, 2006 10:19 AM (e)

Ohio: Fordham Evaluation Authors Weigh In
Richard B. Hoppe posted Entry 1919 on January 18, 2006 04:05 AM
(opening post in thread)

The motion before the Board was to delete that lesson plan from the model curriculum; the Benchmark was not mentioned in the motion on the floor (summary of the Board meeting).

The above summary of the Board meeting said –

“Several OCS members were present and spoke at the public participation session at the end of the meeting. Because the motion was not an agenda item, there was no opportunity for them to speak before the vote.”

The above actions by the board would be illegal under the Brown Act of California. Under this act, action on a non-agenda item is normally not allowed (emergency items and items continued from recent meetings are excepted) , and public comment generally must be allowed before or during consideration of the item (with a narrow exception). See Sec. 54954.3 (a) in http://www.vanguardnews.com/brownact.htm

The above summary of the Board meeting also said —

“Board members Richard Baker and Michael Cochran showed their public disdain for the proceedings by ostentatiously reading newspapers during the proceedings.”

This is astonishing. It seems that some of their fellow board members would have told them to at least pretend to be interested in the public comments. And since the other board members did not speak up, the public commenters should have admonished Baker and Cochran for their rudeness.

The things that go on in Ohio.

Comment #73505

Posted by Aagcobb on January 19, 2006 10:20 AM (e)

Having an ACLU stringer auditing every biology class nationwide smacks an awful lot of the thought police.

It also is neither necessary or useful. The ACLU only files suit if it has a plaintiff with standing to represent; in a case like this, a parent of a student. Thus an ACLU “stringer” is not necessary, because parents who object to what their child is being taught will notify the ACLU of the objectionable material, and an ACLU “stringer” would not be useful, because even if a teacher is using the Book of Genesis as a biology textbook, the ACLU will not file suit unless a parent is willing to let the ACLU represent them. In some school districts, there will be no parents who either object to creationist teaching, or who are willing to be vilified as godless commies in their communities.

Comment #73517

Posted by Flint on January 19, 2006 10:55 AM (e)

Agacobb:

even if a teacher is using the Book of Genesis as a biology textbook, the ACLU will not file suit unless a parent is willing to let the ACLU represent them. In some school districts, there will be no parents who either object to creationist teaching, or who are willing to be vilified as godless commies in their communities.

Yes, I understand the need to have legal standing. The stringer would be one of the legitimate students in the class, who (along with his/her parents) have an arrangement with the ACLU to blow the whistle, in exchange for which the ACLU advises the parents and student about how the necessary legally-required evidence must be obtained, and what it consists of.

So I was envisioning a bounty system: Creationists wanted. Bring us sufficient evidence, and if we win the case you get a reward.

I recognize also that in those locations (probably all too common) where every family in the entire district wants the Bible to be the ONLY textbook used in EVERY class, the ACLU can get no foothold.

Comment #73526

Posted by Aagcobb on January 19, 2006 11:26 AM (e)

Flint wrote:

So I was envisioning a bounty system: Creationists wanted. Bring us sufficient evidence, and if we win the case you get a reward.

I’m not convinced that’s a great idea. Better to have people go to the ACLU who are just looking for vindication of their constitutional right rather than people looking for monetary compensation. It worked in Cobb County, Dover and now California.

Comment #73561

Posted by RBH on January 19, 2006 12:35 PM (e)

Larry wrote

The above actions by the board would be illegal under the Brown Act of California. Under this act, action on a non-agenda item is normally not allowed (emergency items and items continued from recent meetings are excepted) , and public comment generally must be allowed before or during consideration of the item (with a narrow exception). See Sec. 54954.3 (a) in http://www.vanguardnews.com/brownact.htm

The President of the Board, after consulting the leadership, declared the motion to be an emergency. The Board’s legal counsel was present and advised the President on permissible actions.

Larry wrote

“Board members Richard Baker and Michael Cochran showed their public disdain for the proceedings by ostentatiously reading newspapers during the proceedings.”

This is astonishing. It seems that some of their fellow board members would have told them to at least pretend to be interested in the public comments. And since the other board members did not speak up, the public commenters should have admonished Baker and Cochran for their rudeness.

One public commenter did so. Cochran’s response was “When someone says something worth listening to, I’ll pay attention”. That is a near-direct quotation. I have a recording of the Board’s debate (less one tape), but I’m not going to slog back through it to find the precise quotation unless someone doubts my representation of it. Several newspaper articles used the same quotation.

Larry, you have not yet addressed the substance of the opening post: that ODE staff and some members of the Board subverted the process to insert a blatantly creationist model lesson plan into the curriculum. As I remarked above, derailments will be sent off to the Bathroom Wall.

RBH

Comment #73636

Posted by Chavez on January 19, 2006 2:36 PM (e)

********
Comment #73393

Posted by RBH on January 18, 2006 10:11 PM (e)

csa asked

RBH, do you know when this Fordham update will be published in the media? I’ve been unable to find it elsewhere so far.

Several Ohio papers have picked it up — the Dayton Daily News had a story yesterday (I don’t have a URL handy; sorry). I haven’t heard of others, though I’ve had correspondence and phone calls in the last two days from reporters at several other Ohio papers. This statement just came out late Monday afternoon, when the major newspapers in Ohio were notified of it.

RBH
********

csa, here is the url for the Dayton Daily News story.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/localnews/content/localnews/daily/0117flunk.html

If you don’t feel like registering you can just enter 2000 in the birth year field and it will take you to the site. (under 13 years can’t register)

Comment #73702

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 19, 2006 4:51 PM (e)

Comment #73561 posted by RBH on January 19, 2006 12:35 PM
Larry, you have not yet addressed the substance of the opening post: that ODE staff and some members of the Board subverted the process to insert a blatantly creationist model lesson plan into the curriculum. As I remarked above, derailments will be sent off to the Bathroom Wall.

I don’t see how you can call my post a “derailment” – I made some direct comments about the board meeting where the vote to keep the lesson plans was taken. And your answers provided some important information as to how this vote was taken. For one thing, you said that the vote was treated as an emergency, and I don’t see how that can be justified. You also pointed out that one of the board members showed blatant bias by saying, “when someone says something worth listening to, I’ll pay attention” (question – how could he know what is worth listening to unless he is listening in order to find out ?). Also, Sec. 54954.3 (a) of California’s Brown Act clearly indicates that public comments must be heard before a vote is taken even on emergency items (that certainly makes sense), and this was not done in the case of the Ohio board meeting. Isn’t all this part of what you called “subvert[ing] the process to insert a blatantly creationist model lesson plan into the curriculum” ? If we are not going to discuss these issues now, then when?

And I commented on the lesson plans themselves. In Comment #73470 , I said that I presumed that the lesson plans are just examples and so they would not actually be taught in science classes. I also said that I think that the content of the textbooks is much more important than the state standards. I said that I think that the Fordham Foundation’s reports gave too much weight to the state standards, and I am not the only one to hold that opinion — see Comment #73377 on this thread and PT thread “Report Cards Are In,”
http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/12/report_cards_ar.html

Comment #73712

Posted by Steviepinhead on January 19, 2006 5:07 PM (e)

Yo, Larry, stop wasting everybody’s time over here and get back to the Super-Duper Extra-Neato Larry’s Thread: all LaLa, all the time.

But as long as I’m here, maroon, why would you expect the Ohio board to follow California administrative rules? Oh, silly me, now you’re a retired teenaged state administrative law specialist, too!

Comment #73715

Posted by steve s on January 19, 2006 5:16 PM (e)

As I remarked above, derailments will be sent off to the Bathroom Wall.

RBH

thank Intelligent Designer for the reopened Bathroom Wall. Not having one was senseless.

Comment #73727

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 19, 2006 6:12 PM (e)

Comment #73712 posted by Steviepinhead on January 19, 2006 05:07 PM

But as long as I’m here, maroon, why would you expect the Ohio board to follow California administrative rules?

Pinheaded Stevie,

– because the California rules are consistent with common sense. For example, it is common sense to hear public comments on a matter before a vote is taken on that matter so that the comments have a chance to influence the vote. If the public comments are going to be heard anyway and take up meeting time, why not hear them when they can have some effect on the vote? Once, at a meeting of a Los Angeles County commission, I was illegally prevented from commenting on a motion until after the vote on that motion was taken, and I was really pissed off royally.

Meanwhile, is anyone going to comment on the following points I made ?

(1) The lesson plan’s examples (the “sample supporting answers” and the “sample challenging answers”) and the word definitions are unimportant because they probably will not be taught in science classes.

(2) The contents of the textbooks are far more important than the state standards.

(3) The Fordham Foundation reports place too much weight on state standards.

(4) If the Ohio board of education can be sued for saying that teaching ID is not required, then the board can also be sued for saying nothing about ID, because silence about ID could be interpreted as being tantamount to saying that teaching ID is not required.

Comment #73733

Posted by Steviepinhead on January 19, 2006 6:26 PM (e)

L.F.:

because the California rules are consistent with common sense.

Your faith in the probity of politicians from states you don’t even vote in is endearing–naive, misplaced and, as usual, steered astray by your pretzel logic–but endearing nonetheless.

Now head on back over to “your” own thread, little feller, where you can make as little sense as possible for as long as you like (or at least until the comment count hits four digits).

Comment #73735

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 19, 2006 6:31 PM (e)

Comment #73715 posted by steve s on January 19, 2006 05:16 PM

“As I remarked above, derailments will be sent off to the Bathroom Wall.”

RBH

thank Intelligent Designer for the reopened Bathroom Wall. Not having one was senseless.

Steve S.,

And you think that your above comment is not off-topic?

My comments here have been very much on-topic. I have seen many comments on this website that were mostly or completely off-topic and those comments were not deleted or moved to the Bathroom Wall.

And it seems that as soon as I start addressing some of the real issues here, I either get flamed or ignored.

Comment #73738

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 19, 2006 6:35 PM (e)

And it seems that as soon as I start addressing some of the real issues here, I either get flamed or ignored.

hmm. assuming you actually view what’s been happening to you in that light, why DO you bother sticking around then?

Comment #73741

Posted by Steviepinhead on January 19, 2006 6:43 PM (e)

Larry mistakes our good-natured joshing for flaming–Larry, I’m tempted to introduce you to another young friend of mind, Johnny Storm.

And if Larry thinks that what we do to him is “flaming,” that pretty conclusively demonstrates that his “approximately 60” really means “closer to 16.” Since he clearly was not around in the bulletin board days.

As for your being ignored, I did try that for a while, but it wasn’t nearly so much fun as playing joshing around with you.

Comment #73823

Posted by RBH on January 19, 2006 9:07 PM (e)

To address Larry’s point directly:

(1) The lesson plan’s examples (the “sample supporting answers” and the “sample challenging answers”) and the word definitions are unimportant because they probably will not be taught in science classes.

False. To our direct knowledge the creationist model lesson plan are being used in several districts. In one district, in fact, students have been instructed by the administration to not talk to anyone outside the school about what they’re being taught. Want to guess how long that’ll last in the face of litigation?

(2) The contents of the textbooks are far more important than the state standards.

False. The Ohio Graduation Test for high school students, required for graduation, is written to align with the Standards, Benchmarks, and Grade Level Indicators, not to a textbook.

(3) The Fordham Foundation reports place too much weight on state standards.

False: see the answer to #2.

(4) If the Ohio board of education can be sued for saying that teaching ID is not required, then the board can also be sued for saying nothing about ID, because silence about ID could be interpreted as being tantamount to saying that teaching ID is not required.

No one will sue the SBOE for “saying that teaching ID is not required.” Larry clearly can’t read for comprehension. The issue is the creationism-based model lesson plan and the Trojan Benchmark it rode in on. Larry seems to have real trouble comprehending that simple point.

RBH

Comment #73833

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 19, 2006 9:24 PM (e)

Larry seems to have real trouble comprehending that simple point.

no, no, don’t limit that description to just this simple point. His comprehension “skills” are quite expansive.

Comment #73966

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 20, 2006 7:16 AM (e)

Comment #73823 posted by RBH on January 19, 2006 09:07 PM

To address Larry’s point directly:

(1) The lesson plan’s examples (the “sample supporting answers” and the “sample challenging answers”) and the word definitions are unimportant because they probably will not be taught in science classes.

False. To our direct knowledge the creationist model lesson plan are being used in several districts.

OK, the Ohio model lesson plan does not explicitly tell the teachers to distribute copies of the sample supporting and challenging answers in Attachment A, but tells the teachers, “Teacher presentation: Present supporting and challenging information for five aspects of evolution found in Attachment A……Students can use this information to focus their research.” – from page 4 of the model lesson plan. Some school districts, schools or teachers may interpret this as meaning that they are supposed to distribute copies of the answers in Attachment A. I feel that the teachers should not distribute answers to the students, even as a starting point for the students’ research – that’s spoonfeeding the students. Anyway, I feel that the teachers should stick to the textbooks – there is really not enough time to deal with supplemental material that may conflict with what is in the textbooks.

(2) The contents of the textbooks are far more important than the state standards.

False. The Ohio Graduation Test for high school students, required for graduation, is written to align with the Standards, Benchmarks, and Grade Level Indicators, not to a textbook.

I don’t see how Ohio students can be held responsible for knowing the contents of the state model lesson plans for evolution. For one thing, these model lesson plans are apparently just advisory – the school districts are apparently not required to follow them exactly. And then there are students who immigrated from other states after the tenth grade and who would therefore not have been exposed to this stuff. All the Ohio Graduation Test can reasonably ask of students is general knowledge about evolution theory.

(3) The Fordham Foundation reports place too much weight on state standards.

False: see the answer to #2.

In this case I think that you have a point because the contents of this state standard might be used directly in the classroom. Otherwise, I feel that my above statement is generally true.

(4) If the Ohio board of education can be sued for saying that teaching ID is not required, then the board can also be sued for saying nothing about ID, because silence about ID could be interpreted as being tantamount to saying that teaching ID is not required.

No one will sue the SBOE for “saying that teaching ID is not required.”

I’d bet that there are some people who would just love to sue the SBOE for saying that. LOL Anyway, I don’t see any basis for a lawsuit, because so far I have seen no evidence of religious motivation or unmistakable religious content. I think that there are just a lot of Chicken Littles running around telling everyone that the sky is falling.

===================================

Also, regarding my statement that the textbooks are more important than the state standards – right now the University of California is being sued for rejecting Christian-school students on the grounds that the students’ courses were too oriented towards religion, and one of the big issues in the lawsuit is the contents of the textbooks, including science textbooks —

“The university rejected some class credits because Calvary Chapel relies on textbooks from leading Christian publishers, Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Book. A biology book from Bob Jones University presents creationism and intelligent design alongside evolution. The introduction says, ‘The people who have prepared this book have tried consistently to put the Word of God first and science second.’ “
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-01-12-christian-school_x.htm?csp=N009

Also, the Christian-school textbooks have been described as follows –
“One of the textbooks used for the course, published by Bob Jones University Press, teaches that the world is no more than 10,000 years old. The other, titled “Biology: God’s Living Creation,” has a 40-page section about evolution, all of it an effort to debunk Darwin’s theory while ignoring or denying a century of scientific discovery. Dinosaurs lived alongside people, it claims, and might have gone extinct in the Noah-era flood.”
http://ethics.tamucc.edu/article.pl?sid=05/12/20/224209

==================================

Also, speaking of another matter you brought up, lawsuits involving individual teachers –
I am not aware of any teacher being sued for introducing religion into the classroom, but a
teacher in Cupertino, Calif. has sued his school’s principal and his school district on the grounds of being prevented from distributing historical documents that mentioned god. See – http://www.newyorker.com/online/content/articles/050321on_onlineonly01

I think that there should be national educational standards instead of state standards, so that students who move from state to state do not miss or duplicate anything. Also, I think that the educational standards need not go into a lot of detail, but should only state in a broad way the subjects that should be covered – e.g., American history, algebra, biology, etc..

Iowans really have the right idea – there are no state educational standards for Iowa, so no one pesters the state about its educational standards.

Comment #74019

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 20, 2006 10:09 AM (e)

Comment #73150 posted by Art on January 18, 2006 09:20 AM

In the Ohio ID-inspired “Critical Analysis of Evolution” lesson plan (L10-H23), on the section on endosymbiosis, the author(s) state:

“Brief Supporting Sample Answer: Complex eukaryotic cells contain organelles such as chloroplasts and mitochondria. These organelles have their own DNA. This suggests that bacterial cells may have become established in cells that were ancestral to eukaryotes. These smaller cells existed for a time in a symbiotic relationship within the larger cell. Later, the smaller cell evolved into separate organelles within the eukaryotic ancestors. The separate organelles, chloroplast and mitochondria, within modern eukaryotes stand as evidence of this evolutionary change.”

The way the lesson plan is set up is to contrast the “pro-evolution” position with some problems with the position. The “Brief Supporting Sample Answer” is thus intended to represent the consensus position of the scientific community (IMO, at least). But the quoted section in this post is a flat-out misrepresentation, insofar as it implies that the consensus is that chloroplasts and mitochondria diverged from a common proto-organelle after the initial endosymbiotic event. (The last sentence is worse than this, as it mis-states entirely what we take as evidence.) Until I read this, I had never seen anyone anywhere propose such a thing, and I am pretty sure that the consensus is rather different.

This illustrates another problem with this lesson plan – not only are the alleged problems creationist-inspired flights of fancy, the supposed support for evolution is botched and mangled.

(emphasis added)

“The supposed support for evolution is botched and mangled” ? You only say that you are “pretty sure” that the consensus is rather different. Just because you have never seen the view expressed in the above “brief supporting sample answer” does not mean that this view is not held by a large number of evolutionist scientists. Evolutionist scientists often disagree among themselves about the mechanisms of evolution – for example, look at the controversies over the concept of punctuated equilibrium.

Comment #74052

Posted by Chris Caprette on January 20, 2006 11:18 AM (e)

Larry Fafarman wrote:
“Evolutionist scientists often disagree among themselves about the mechanisms of evolution — for example, look at the controversies over the concept of punctuated equilibrium.”

The PE “controversy” is a canard. Most of the disagreements over PE were fabricated by clueless YECs. The legitimate scientific disagreements were about the relative contributions of cladogenesis and anagenesis, not the existence of the mechanisms. Go here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/punc-eq.html to get a clue.

Art’s post is precisely correct.

The explanation for endosymbiosis in the lesson plan leaves out considerable critical information. Those deficiencies lead directly to a misinterpretation of the endosymbiosis hypothesis. Defenders no doubt will invoke “space considerations” to explain their editing of the material in the “Brief Supporting Sample Answer”. An example of the missing information is that mitochondrial DNA and chloroplast DNA are more like prokaryotic DNA than they are like eukaryotic DNA. Another example is that mitochondria are thought to be related to alpha proteobacteria while chloroplasts are thought to be more closely related to cyanobacteria, two very different and only distantly-related groups of organisms. The phylogenetic independence of chloroplasts and mitochondria, that is that they evolved from two separate endosymbiotic events involving very different organisms is not controversial among evolutionary biologists. To imply that those organelles diverged from the same bacterial endosymbiote grossly misrepresents the consensus view! Regarding the statement “Evolutionist scientists often disagree among themselves about the mechanisms of evolution” - Please provide a single scientific reference supporting the common origin of chloroplasts and mitochondria from a shared ancestral endosymbiote!

Those are some of the reasons for believing that the “Brief Supporting Sample Answer” in the lesson plan is “botched and mangled”. The reasons for believing that the botching and mangling were deliberate include the fact that the lesson plan was created by a creationist, creationist groups lobbied the OH-SBOE heavily to incorporate the lesson plan, the OH-SBOE has creationist members in their leadership, the OH-SBOE refused to allow the majority of scientists that offered to testify to do so, and the OH-SBOE was pressured by our corrupt governor to incorporate creationist nonsense in the lesson plan. Go here: http://www.ohioscience.org/ for a history of this travesty.

Comment #74061

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 20, 2006 11:34 AM (e)

As previously mentioned in this thread, the board’s vote on the lesson plans was held before the public comments were heard, and that is illegal in California and should be illegal everywhere. Anyway, the reporters and television crews left early, so the following report about the public comment session is based on tape recordings of the meeting —
http://www.columbusdispatch.com/news-story.php?story=dispatch/2006/01/20/20060120-D1-04.html

Comment #74069

Posted by csa on January 20, 2006 11:59 AM (e)

Hey Chavez, thanks greatly for the URL. Nice to have this reference on hand.
http://www.daytondailynews.com/localnews/content/localnews/daily/0117flunk.html

Comment #74073

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 20, 2006 12:25 PM (e)

Comment #74052 posted by Chris Caprette on January 20, 2006 11:18 AM

The PE “controversy” is a canard. Most of the disagreements over PE were fabricated by clueless YECs. The legitimate scientific disagreements were about the relative contributions of cladogenesis and anagenesis, not the existence of the mechanisms.

Wrong. PE was introduced as a direct challenge to phyletic gradualism. Now it is being claimed that PE is consistent with phyletic gradualism. Evolutionists keep changing their stories to give false impressions that evolutionists are united and that evolution theory is consistent. I am not going to buy this nonsense.

Regarding the statement “Evolutionist scientists often disagree among themselves about the mechanisms of evolution” - Please provide a single scientific reference supporting the common origin of chloroplasts and mitochondria from a shared ancestral endosymbiote!

I was responding to Art’s statement that he was only “pretty sure” that the “brief supporting sample answer” was not the consensus view.

Comment #74074

Posted by Stephen Elliott on January 20, 2006 12:36 PM (e)

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 20, 2006 12:25 PM (e)
….
Evolutionists keep changing their stories to give false impressions that evolutionists are united and that evolution theory is consistent. I am not going to buy this nonsense.

No! No! No! Larry,

“Evolutionists” keep changing their stories as new verifiable evidence shows some assumptions to be wrong.

What is wrong with that? Does that not prove that ID/creationist claims that “evolution is a dogma” to be wrong?

Do you still not get it? Scientists do not mind being proven wrong. In fact they tend to encourage it, just as long as there is evidence.

Comment #74076

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 20, 2006 12:46 PM (e)

Comment #74074 posted by Stephen Elliott on January 20, 2006 12:36 PM

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 20, 2006 12:25 PM
“Evolutionists keep changing their stories to give false impressions that evolutionists are united and that evolution theory is consistent. I am not going to buy this nonsense.”

No! No! No! Larry,

“Evolutionists” keep changing their stories as new verifiable evidence shows some assumptions to be wrong.

Yes! Yes! Yes! Stephen. The evolutionists often don’t agree on how to interpret the new evidence.

Comment #74078

Posted by Stephen Elliott on January 20, 2006 12:58 PM (e)

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 20, 2006 12:46 PM (e)

….
Yes! Yes! Yes! Stephen. The evolutionists often don’t agree on how to interpret the new evidence.

Hoorah! A decent comment by Larry,

Absolutely correct Larry. But guess how they settle those disputes? They try to think up more experiments or usefull observations.

Now how does “evolutionists” disagreeing fit into your claim that they are all in some sort of conspiracy? It doesn’t, does it?

Now if you where correct, that evolution theory was a sham, there would be no disagreement.

Wake up!

Comment #74087

Posted by gwangung on January 20, 2006 1:20 PM (e)

Yes! Yes! Yes! Stephen. The evolutionists often don’t agree on how to interpret the new evidence.

Stopped clock.

Correct.

Twice a day.

Now, for the $64,000 question…can Larry tell us how often this happens in science?

Comment #74094

Posted by Chris Caprette on January 20, 2006 1:41 PM (e)

Larry Fafarman wrote:
“Wrong. PE was introduced as a direct challenge to phyletic gradualism.”

The term “phyletic gradualism” itself was a straw man erected by Eldridge and Gould to bolster their PE argument. It didn’t represent the view, even at the time, of most evolutionary biologists. Evolutionary biologists haven’t changed their stories on this.

Larry Fafarman continued:
“I was responding to Art’s statement that he was only “pretty sure” that the “brief supporting sample answer” was not the consensus view.”

Okay, but pointing out Art’s personal uncertainty doesn’t refute his point. Presenting an actual scientific paper contradicting Art’s statement would at least be valid criticism.

Larry Fafarman continued:
“I am not going to buy this nonsense”

It appears that you already have all the nonsense that you need.

Comment #74103

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 20, 2006 2:08 PM (e)

Lalalarry, you really are making yourself look foolish when you try to educate anybody with ANY knowledge of evolutionary biology on what Gould’s hypotheses were and were based on.

it’s like a kindergartner tying to teach a college professor.

the hubris is humorous, at best.

why do you persist? not taking your medication today?

Comment #74105

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 20, 2006 2:15 PM (e)

btw, lalalarry:

as we so commonly do, and you so commony refuse, here is a nice summary of Gould over at talkorigins:

feel free to graduate from kindergarten any time you wish.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/punc-eq.html

Comment #74125

Posted by AC on January 20, 2006 3:04 PM (e)

To cash in on the credulous (everyone else is doing it!), I think I’ll write a book - a hard-hitting expose on how a global anti-democracy cabal known as “scientists” work together to ensure that some ideas are accepted and others are rejected.

I’ll call it “The Accuracy Conspiracy”.

Aagcobb wrote:

Better to have people go to the ACLU who are just looking for vindication of their constitutional right rather than people looking for monetary compensation.

Agreed. Now if only more people knew and cared about their constitutional rights….

Comment #74211

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 20, 2006 8:06 PM (e)

Comment #74069 posted by csa on January 20, 2006 11:59 AM
Hey Chavez, thanks greatly for the URL. Nice to have this reference on hand.
http://www.daytondailynews.com/localnews/content/localnews/daily/0117flunk.html

Re: the above news article —

The Fordham Foundation’s reports are not worth the paper they are printed on.

In the Fordham Foundation’s rating system, state evolution education standards are worth only 3 points out of a maximum possible overall score of 69 for state science education standards. So how can a state go from an overall grade of B to F just by going from passing to flunking on evolution?

The categories of Fordham Foundation’s overall rating system are vague and highly subjective – e.g., quality, seriousness, and organization. One study panned Fordham Foundation’s 2000 report, saying among other things that there was no positive correlation between the report’s state ratings and student achievement in science. See Also, the Fordham reports were panned in a Panda’s Thumb comment thread, ““The Report Cards Are In.”

The differences in educational quality of public schools within a state are generally far greater than the differences between states. Students in rich neighborhoods tend to do much better on standardized tests than students in poor neighborhoods. The only fair measure of educational quality is achievement on standardized tests – that is one reason why we have the SAT and ACT tests for college admission. Students should be treated as individuals, not as residents of individual states.

People laugh at that “clodhopper” state, Kansas, because of its standards on evolution education (it was rated “not even failed” in the executive summary of the 2005 Fordham report), but in a way I envy that state. The high-tech aircraft industry has been gutted in Southern California but still appears to be relatively healthy in Wichita.

I have not heard of any state bragging about its high score or grade in the Fordham report – this report is used mainly to damage states’ reputations rather than boost them.

Iowa has the right idea – it is the only state with no state science education standards, so it is not rated by the Fordham Foundation. States need educational standards like a hole in the head.

There should be national educational standards instead of state standards so that students who move from state to state do not miss or duplicate anything, and so that they will always have the necessary pre-requisites for each grade level. Our whole federal system is crazy — the USA is one of the few nations of the world with “united” in its name — the others are the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.

By the way, the Fordham Foundation is not connected to Fordham University (I think that the incorrect association of the name with the university might be giving the Fordham reports extra credibility).

Comment #74230

Posted by Henry J on January 20, 2006 9:42 PM (e)

Re “The term “phyletic gradualism” itself was a straw man erected by Eldridge and Gould to bolster their PE argument.”

A funny thing about the so called P.E. controversy - there’s a chapter in Darwin’s book that strikes me as a pretty good description of punctuated equilibrium (evolution occurring in small populations, on the fringes of populations, or only sporadically). Yet later comments refer to P.E. as if it diverged from Darwin’s thinking on the subject.

Henry

Comment #74243

Posted by Dave Thomas on January 20, 2006 10:45 PM (e)

Hey, the Creationist Choir is reporting that

Ohio’s science standards are not going to be downgraded by an education foundation as was mistakenly reported in the Dayton Daily News and elsewhere in Ohio this week.

Chester Finn, President of the Fordham Foundation, released a statement saying: “Just to clarify, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute has no plans to revisit or alter Ohio’s (or any other state’s) grade on science standards anytime soon.”

Comments critical of Ohio’s “Critical Analysis of Evolution” lesson plan by a researcher who helped write Fordham’s report grading the state’s science standards sparked the rumors that the grade was to be lowered unless the lesson plan was withdrawn. But Fordham’s president clarified that researcher Paul Gross’ comments were made in his private capacity, not as a spokesman for the Foundation and stressed that they do “NOT mean Fordham is changing the grade we gave Ohio’s generally good statewide science standards.”

Dave

Comment #74248

Posted by Flint on January 20, 2006 11:18 PM (e)

Henry J:

Yet later comments refer to P.E. as if it diverged from Darwin’s thinking on the subject.

I’ve followed this dispute in some detail, and there seems to be a great deal of misunderstanding. I won’t say any of it is deliberate.

But according to Darwin’s view, every breeding population of organisms is undergoing evolutionary redirection all the time, to the extent that their environment may chage. Populations are, according to this theory, ‘tracking’ environmental change, constantly rewarding the best adapted individuals. Yes, “small populations, on the fringes of populations” might branch off and become new species, but the parent populatino is STILL tracking environental incentives within their own range.

PE says no, this really is not what’s happening. The parent population doesn’t track anything at all. It is FROZEN, for whatever reasons. If the environment changes, then whether the population goes extinct or survives isn’t AT ALL a matter of tracking these changes, but of whether the population just accidentally happens to be able to survive the changes to the environment.

And accordingly, “phyletic gradualism” isn’t a strawman in any way. Gould is saying it *does not happen* except in those rare instances where the population is not too large. PE says that large populations DO NOT ADAPT to environmental changes. They are “locked in”. Indeed, their inability to adapt, their stubborn insistence on species identity, dooms them to extinction, and that this is in fact the CAUSE of extinction in the vast majority of cases.

So this is the crux of the issue. Gould argues that large populations do not, and cannot track environmental changes. Smaller groups, splitting off from the large population, are subject to effective selection (the identity defenses aren’t strong enough to resist), UNTIL those smaller groups reach an equilibrium with their environment sufficient to enjoy rapid population growth. Which locks them in, until they go extinct.

The argument, then, says that evolution happens ONLY (or 99% of the time) in small isolated populations where natural selection can override factors defending species identity, until such time as the population reaches “freeze size”. And the exceptions occur where the parent population is itself small enough for selection to do this.

And in this, PE is not and has never been a bogus objection to a “constant speedism” that Gould never claimed ever existed.

Comment #74259

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 21, 2006 12:49 AM (e)

but…

phyletic gradualism is an artificial construct created by Gould and Eldredge, and did not conform to any existing definition of speciation extant at that time, especially not that of Darwin (at least for the most part).
I agree as to your definition and usage of PE, but I think it should be a bit clearer that the idea of phyletic gradualism was a construct of Gould, and not of Darwin. that’s the part that gets confusing, and why the “strawman” argument is used.

In fact, Wes did a nice job of detailing this in his essay on talkorigins, which is kinda why i put it up as a link.

Comment #74261

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 21, 2006 1:15 AM (e)

Comment #74094 posted by Chris Caprette on January 20, 2006 01:41 PM

Larry Fafarman wrote:
“Wrong. PE was introduced as a direct challenge to phyletic gradualism.”

The term “phyletic gradualism” itself was a straw man erected by Eldridge and Gould to bolster their PE argument.

What honest scientist uses straw man arguments ?

Comment #74262

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 21, 2006 1:41 AM (e)

what 6 year old gets involved in adult conversations?

run along now, little larry.

go play with your tinkertoys or something.

Comment #74264

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 21, 2006 2:03 AM (e)

Comment #74262 posted by Sir_Toejam on January 21, 2006 01:41 AM

what 6 year old gets involved in adult conversations?

Wasn’t it a 6-year-old — or thereabouts – who pointed out that the emperor had no clothes ?

Comment #74266

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 21, 2006 2:15 AM (e)

tinkertoys, larry, go.

Comment #74267

Posted by k.e. on January 21, 2006 2:19 AM (e)

How old was the emperor Larry ?

Did he not consider himself an expert in something he had no training in ? (honesty as opposed to pride)

Was he not unable to differentiate between reality and the imaginary….….(remember those imaginary numbers Larry ?)

Were not the entire population scared that dissent against the most powerful man in the land would harm them.

Were not the pedlar’s of the ‘magical cloth’ just interested in money and produced nothing of use whatsoever. (except embarrassment for all concerned except someone who refused to be swayed by a ridiculous idea)

Just remember Larry that 6 year old used the scientific method to confirm his observations and the emperor and his sycophantic followers did not.

Comment #74270

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 21, 2006 2:31 AM (e)

Comment #74267 posted by k.e. on January 21, 2006 02:19 AM

How old was the emperor Larry ?

Sir_Toejam compared me to the 6-year-old, not the emperor.

Comment #74274

Posted by k.e. on January 21, 2006 2:48 AM (e)

scroll up Larry
who said
Wasn’t it a 6-year-old —- or thereabouts — who pointed out that the emperor had no clothes ?

STJ compared your conclusions to someone without the ability or knowledge to process complex scientific ideas and link them to a functional nuerosis free adult use of language in light of evidence.

You compared yourself to a scientist.

And why do you use Isogesis when reading evidence for evolution
and not Exogesis when that evidence it is meant to be taken literally.

Comment #74279

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 21, 2006 4:57 AM (e)

Comment #74243 posted by Dave Thomas on January 20, 2006 10:45 PM

Hey, the Creationist Choir is reporting that –

Ohio’s science standards are not going to be downgraded by an education foundation as was mistakenly reported in the Dayton Daily News and elsewhere in Ohio this week.

Chester Finn, President of the Fordham Foundation, released a statement saying: “Just to clarify, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute has no plans to revisit or alter Ohio’s (or any other state’s) grade on science standards anytime soon.”

Apparently the Fordham Foundation does not revise any of the individual state reports after they are issued. For example, Kansas kept its evolution score of 3 points out of 3 in its individual state report, even though the “executive summary” for the entire report rated Kansas as “not even failed” on evolution – the only state to get this rating. The individual state report for Kansas said, “There are reports, however, that on the state Board creationist initiatives have again gained prominence, and that a soon-to-be-issued revision of these standards will once again play havoc at least with biology.” See –http://www.edexcellence.net/foundation/publication/publication.cfm?id=352&pubsubid=1180

Also, I calculated that the loss of all of Ohio’s original 3 points for evolution would have dropped the state from a solid B to a B-minus or C-plus, not an F as claimed in the following news report –
http://www.daytondailynews.com/localnews/content/localnews/daily/0117flunk.htm

Furthermore, flunking evolution does not mean an automatic overall F. Among the states that got zero points for evolution, Connecticut got an overall C and Arkansas and Maine got overall D’s.

It may be some time before another Fordham report on state science education standards is issued – the preceding report was issued in 2000.

Anyway, I shouldn’t even be discussing the Fordham reports, because I think that they are a lot of hooey (see Comment #74211 of this thread ). I am discussing them only because some misguided people think that they are worth something.

Comment #74282

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 21, 2006 5:57 AM (e)

Sorry, folks, the second URL link I gave in my preceding post has an error and does not work. Here is the correct link –
http://www.daytondailynews.com/localnews/content/localnews/daily/0117flunk.html

In the future I will check all of my links during preview to make sure that they work.

I would like to take this opportunity to comment some more on this news article. The news article said, “The authors of a recent study that gave Ohio a ‘B’ for science standards said they will change the grade to ‘F’ if an intelligent design lesson plan is not dropped.”

However, the lesson plan’s critics have not complained that it includes “intelligent design” –
they have only complained that it is “creationist-inspired” or “anti-evolutionist.”

Also, aToledo Blade editorial titled “No intelligence here” said –
“Further evidence that Ohio’s Board of Education has become a painful carbuncle on the posterior of state government comes from the close vote by which the board decided to retain a high school lesson plan that includes intelligent design.”
http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060114/OPINION02/60114030

It looks like “intelligent design” is becoming a catch-all term for everything that is alleged to be anti-evolutionist. Many of the people who are writing about intelligent design do not even know what it is. I never liked the name “intelligent design” myself because it implies the existence of an intelligent designer. I wish that they had stuck with names like “irreducible complexity.”

Comment #74328

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 21, 2006 9:15 AM (e)

Larry Fafarman wrote:

Many of the people who are writing about intelligent design do not even know what it is.

This seems more apropos of Larry than his correspondents.

Larry Fafarman wrote:

However, the lesson plan’s critics have not complained that it includes “intelligent design” —
they have only complained that it is “creationist-inspired” or “anti-evolutionist.”

Catherine Candisky of the Columbus Dispatch wrote:

Critics say the model curriculum promotes the teaching of intelligent design and undermines Darwin’s theory of evolution. Supporters say it calls for a thorough study of evolution.

(Columbus Dispatch)

There’s plenty of references to show that, yes, the critics do identify “intelligent design” as a concern, even though the words aren’t in the lesson plan at issue.

Larry Fafarman wrote:

It looks like “intelligent design” is becoming a catch-all term for everything that is alleged to be anti-evolutionist.

What study of the content of antievolution shows is that the same arguments just get re-labeled: creationism, scientific creationism, creation science, intelligent design, teach the controversy, etc., are all just what people call the same underlying ensemble of arguments. You can describe the ensembles so named in terms of subsets and supersets, but even the most restrictive contains the same old, tired antievolution arguments. “Irreducible complexity” is just a new label for an argument that goes back at least to William Paley’s 1802 “Natural Theology”. “Intelligent design” has not become a catch-all term for antievolution; it has been precisely that since it was deployed in 1987 to replace the suddenly legally inconvenient precursor label, “creation science”. What Larry finds inconvenient is that “intelligent design” has a history of advocacy that does argue that it also has been antievolutionary in the broad sense. This history, though, does not go away because of the inconvenience it poses to ID cheerleaders.

William Paley wrote:

One atheistic way of replying to our observations upon the works of nature, and to the proofs of a Deity which we think that we perceive in them, is to tell us, that all which we see must necessarily have had some form, and that it might as well be its present form as any other. Let us now apply this answer to the eye, as we did before to the watch. Something or other must have occupied that place in the animal’s head: must have filled up, we will say, that socket: we will say also, that it must have been of that sort of substance which we call animal substance, as flesh, bone, membrane, cartilage, &c. But that it should have been an eye, knowing as we do what an eye comprehends,–viz. that it should have consisted, first, of a series of transparent lenses (very different, by-the-bye, even in their substance, from the opaque materials of which the rest of the body is, in general at least, composed; and with which the whole of its surface, this single portion of it excepted, is covered): secondly, of a black cloth or canvass (the only membrane of the body which is black) spread out behind these lenses, so as to receive the image formed by pencils of light transmitted through them; and placed at the precise geometrical distance at which, and at which alone, a distinct image could be formed, namely, at the concourse of the refracted rays: thirdly, of a large nerve communicating between this membrane and the brain; without which, the action of light upon the membrane, however modified by the organ, would be lost to the purposes of sensation:–that this fortunate conformation of parts should have been the lot, not of one individual out of many thousand individuals, like the great prize in a lottery, or like some singularity in nature, but the happy chance of a whole species; nor of one species out of many thousand species, with which we are acquainted, but of by far the greatest number of all that exist; and that under varieties, not casual or capricious, but bearing marks of being suited to their respective exigencies’ –that all this should have taken place, merely because something must have occupied those points in every animal’s forehead;–or, that all this should be thought to be accounted for, by the short answer, that whatever was there, must have had some form or other, is too absurd to be made more so by any augmentation. We are not contented with this answer; we find no satisfaction in it, by way of accounting for appearances of organization far short of those of the eye, such as we observe in fossil shells, petrified bones, or other substances which bear the vestiges of animal or vegetable recrements, but which, either in respect of utility, or of the situation in which they are discovered, may seem accidental enough. It is no way of accounting even for these things, to say that the stone, for instance, which is shown to us (supposing the question to be concerning a petrification), must have contained some internal conformation or other. Nor does it mend the answer to add, with respect to the singularity of the conformation, that, after the event, it is no longer to be computed what the chances were against it. This is always to be computed, when the question is, whether a useful or imitative conformation be the produce of chance, or not: I desire no greater certainty in reasoning, than that by which chance is excluded from the present disposition of the natural world. Universal experience is against it. What does chance ever do for us? In the human body, for instance, chance, i. e.the operation of causes without design, may produce a wen, a wart, a mole, a pimple, but never an eye. Amongst inanimate substances, a clod, a pebble, a liquid drop might be; but never was a watch, a telescope, an organized body of any kind, answering a valuable purpose by a complicated mechanism, the effect of chance. In no assignable instance hath such a thing existed without intention somewhere.

(Natural Theology (1802))

Comment #74369

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 21, 2006 11:27 AM (e)

Comment #74328 posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 21, 2006 09:15 AM

There’s plenty of references to show that, yes, the critics do identify “intelligent design” as a concern, even though the words aren’t in the lesson plan at issue.

OK, point out one part of the lesson plan that has anything to do with irreducible complexity, the main scientific concept of modern Intelligent Design.

“Irreducible complexity” is just a new label for an argument that goes back at least to William Paley’s 1802 “Natural Theology.”

Your long quote of William Paley is not a discussion of irreducible complexity – it is just a general philosophical discussion about intelligent design. Irreducible complexity is a criticism of evolution theory, but “Natural Theology” was written many years before evolution theory was introduced, so how could “Natural Theology” be a criticism of evolution theory ? Without evolution theory, there can be no concept of irreducible complexity, because the concept of irreducible complexity asserts that irreducibly complex systems cannot evolve by adding one feature at a time to the system.

Here are some good definitions of irreducible complexity ( I could have written my own definition, but I generally agree with the following definitions, so I saved myself the trouble by just quoting them )—

The term “irreducible complexity” was originally defined by Behe as:

“A single system which is composed of several interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning”. (Darwin’s Black Box p9)

Supporters of the intelligent design use this term to refer to biological systems and organs that they believe could not have come about by an incremental series of small changes. They argue that anything less than the complete form of such a system or organ would not work at all, or would in fact be a detriment to the organism, and would therefore never survive the process of natural selection.

Intelligent design advocate William Dembski gives this definition:

“A system performing a given basic function is irreducibly complex if it includes a set of well-matched, mutually interacting, nonarbitrarily individuated parts such that each part in the set is indispensable to maintaining the system’s basic, and therefore original, function. The set of these indispensable parts is known as the irreducible core of the system.” (No Free Lunch, 285)
from – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreducible_complexity

Also, irreducible complexity is now being investigated at levels that were largely or completely unknown in Paley’s day — at the biochemical and microbiological levels.

Many evolutionists have the idea that once they think they have “refuted” a particular criticism of evolution theory, they need never reconsider that criticism again, even when new arguments and/or evidence are introduced.

Anyway, why can’t students in public schools discuss in science classes the same things that we are discussing here ? Are they third-class citizens ?

Comment #74377

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 21, 2006 11:34 AM (e)

Flint wrote:

I’ve followed this dispute in some detail, and there seems to be a great deal of misunderstanding. I won’t say any of it is deliberate.

But according to Darwin’s view, every breeding population of organisms is undergoing evolutionary redirection all the time, to the extent that their environment may chage.

[Emphasis added - WRE]

Charles R. Darwin wrote:

That natural selection will always act with extreme slowness, I fully admit. Its action depends on there being places in the polity of nature, which can be better occupied by some of the inhabitants of the country undergoing modification of some kind. The existence of such places will often depend on physical changes, which are generally very slow, and on the immigration of better adapted forms having been checked. But the action of natural selection will probably still oftener depend on some of the inhabitants becoming slowly modified; the mutual relations of many of the other inhabitants being thus disturbed. Nothing can be effected, unless favourable variations occur, and variation itself is apparently always a very slow process. The process will often be greatly retarded by free intercrossing. Many will exclaim that these several causes are amply sufficient wholly to stop the action of natural selection. [I] do not believe so. On the other hand, I do believe that natural selection will always act very slowly, often only at long intervals of time, and generally on only a very few of the inhabitants of the same region at the same time. I further believe, that this very slow, intermittent action of natural selection accords perfectly well with what geology tells us of the rate and manner at which the inhabitants of this world have changed.

(Origin of Species, pp. 152-153, emphasis added)

Comment #74380

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 21, 2006 11:40 AM (e)

Re-read those definitions of irreducible complexity and the following sentence again:

Amongst inanimate substances, a clod, a pebble, a liquid drop might be; but never was a watch, a telescope, an organized body of any kind, answering a valuable purpose by a complicated mechanism, the effect of chance.

The argument is precisely the same. Behe’s contribution was to replace, “What good is half an eye?” with “What good is half a flagellum?”

Comment #74382

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 21, 2006 11:49 AM (e)

Flint wrote:

The argument, then, says that evolution happens ONLY (or 99% of the time) in small isolated populations where natural selection can override factors defending species identity, until such time as the population reaches “freeze size”. And the exceptions occur where the parent population is itself small enough for selection to do this.

[Emphasis added - WRE]

Gould and Eldredge wrote:

2. Ozawa’s forams. Ozawa’s superb study of the Permian verbeekinoid formainifer Lepidolina multiseptata should stand as a model for the testing of evolutionary tempos and the inference of modes. It represents the only case of gradualism that we find fully satsifactory. […]

[…]

4. The speciation theory may help us to predict differences in evolutionary tempos among groups. A higher frequency of gradualism seems to characterize the predominantly asexual protists (though still not very high – see statements of Reyment and MacGillavry, pp. 136). […]

[…]

We predict more gradualism in asexual forms on biological grounds. […]

[…]

We emphatically do not assert the “truth” of this alternate metaphysic of punctuational change. Any attempt to support the exclusive validity of such a monistic, a priori, grandiose notion would verge on the nonsensical. We believe that gradual change characterizes some hierarchical levels, even though we may attribute it to punctuation at a lower level – the macroevolutionary trend produced by species selection, for example. We make a simple plea for pluralism in guiding philosophies – and for the basic recognition that such philosophies, however hidden and inarticulated, do constrain all our thought.

[…]

3. With a model that allows us to assess relative frequency, a basic evolutionary question about phyletic gradualism can finally be posed – where and how often? In what ecological situations does it occur? Is it unusually common in certain taxa? We have already suggested that the frequency of gradualism might be higher in asexual species because their “continuous” trends are produced by clone selection, punctuational at a lower level. […]

(SJ Gould & N Eldredge, 1977, “Punctuated equilibria: the tempo and mode of evolution reconsidered”, Paleobiology 3:115-151.)

Comment #74388

Posted by Bob O'H on January 21, 2006 12:25 PM (e)

Apologies for getting technical…

I haven’t looked at PE in detail, but this looks suspicious:

…evolution happens ONLY (or 99% of the time) in small isolated populations where natural selection can override factors defending species identity,

Natural selection is weak in small isolated populations. Would I be right in thinking that the claim is actually that a shifting balance scenario is operating? i.e. with drift, selection, migration etc. all acting according to Wright’s script?

Bob

Comment #74398

Posted by k.e. on January 21, 2006 1:06 PM (e)

Larry
Several people on PT have noted that you have not been preaching any particular religious message which has been the downfall of most ID/Creationisms “supporters”.

Now “supporters” seem to me a strange way to explain a valid scientific observation supported by evidence. Why don’t you just show the evidence for ID/Creationism…then there would be no need to have “supporters” the evidence is proof enough.

Now most people don’t remember some of your earlier arguments WRT certain witness statements that showed they had religious motives for wanting ID/Creationism taught in science classes and that point along with many others, of which you are well aware of, sunk the wedge in Dover.

I see you are practicing what you are preaching, however, your practice makes it clear that you are preaching a religious motivation whether you like it or not.

Why ?

Because every single one of your arguments follows the DI songbook.

Plenty of nonsense about equal-time for pseudoscience, politics, and the law but absolutely no observable evidence that would support your case.

In fact nothing to support anything more meaningful than Behe’s admission that IC was not science and IC is on a par with astrology and tarot cards.

The DI, which is a Fundamentalist Christian funded Public Relations organization,itself says that it needs to “do the science” and in the meantime ?

Promote a bogus back door Fundamentalist Christian “Teach the controversy” subterfuge, which Larry, as was pointed out in Dover is a meaningless, evidence free, nonsense Creationist argument for a “god of the gaps” which is fine if you go in for that sort of thing but science it is not.

As science has shown ID is a “magic cloth” that a certain emperor was fooled into wearing.

Here is a little folk tale that explains what you are up to Larry.

http://www.mythfolklore.net/3043mythfolklore/reading/jamaica/pages/24.htm

Comment #74463

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 21, 2006 4:53 PM (e)

Comment #74380 posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 21, 2006 11:40 AM

Re-read those definitions of irreducible complexity and the following sentence again:

Amongst inanimate substances, a clod, a pebble, a liquid drop might be; but never was a watch, a telescope, an organized body of any kind, answering a valuable purpose by a complicated mechanism, the effect of chance.

Paley only argued that a complicated mechanism cannot be the effect of chance – he never argued that the watch or telescope was irreducibly complex, and he never argued that irreducibly complex systems generally cannot be created by the gradual process of evolution, because evolution theory had not been introduced yet.

If Paley had been thinking in terms of irreducible complexity, he probably would not have introduced the watch as an example, because a watch can be reduced somewhat. The following can be removed and the watch will still function: the chain or watchband (probably no wristwatches in 1802), the face crystal, the minute and second hands, and even the back, and the watch will still function. However, there would still be some basic parts required for functioning, but evolutionists would probably nonetheless argue that because the watch can be reduced at all, it is not irreducibly complex. LOL Anyway, I think that Behe’s mousetrap is a much better example of a true irreducibly complex system. And while the parts of a mousetrap have some conceivable functions outside a mousetrap (e.g., the base can be used as a paperweight), those parts are not optimally designed for such functions, and if those parts had some other essential functions, they would not be available to form the mousetrap.

Why should ID proponents be restricted to arguing on the basis of the ideas and knowledge of long ago, when evolutionists are not thus restricted ? Do the critics of evolution cite Darwin’s mistakes and the things he did not know, and then say that modern evolution theory is just “repackaged Darwinism” ?

Behe’s contribution was to replace, “What good is half an eye?” with “What good is half a flagellum?”

Those are good questions – “what good is half an eye?” and “what good is half a flagellum ?”

Anyway, Wesley, I think it is hypocritical of you to be placing off-topic posts on this thread after you deleted (moved or whatever) my on-topic posts from your thread titled, “On the Other Hand.” I did not even get a chance to defend my position in your thread – more about this later. It is about time that the “crew” here started treating the commenters with some respect and consideration. Without the commenters, Panda’s Thumb would be nothing, and would not have gotten that Web award from Scientific American magazine.

Comment #74467

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 21, 2006 5:03 PM (e)

Anyway, Wesley, I think it is hypocritical of you

nobody cares what you think.

what was it you were doing here again, or are you just lost?

Comment #74482

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 21, 2006 5:34 PM (e)

Comment #74467 posted by Sir_Toejam on January 21, 2006 05:03 PM

“Anyway, Wesley, I think it is hypocritical of you –“

nobody cares what you think

You are just aping a line from ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank. You don’t have enough imagination to come up with your own insults.

Next time I will just leave out the “I think” part and just say, “you are a hypocrite, Wesley.”

Comment #74488

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 21, 2006 5:48 PM (e)

You are just aping a line from ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank

*shrug*

Comment #74493

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 21, 2006 5:54 PM (e)

Comment #74398 posted by k.e. on January 21, 2006 01:06 PM

Larry
Several people on PT have noted that you have not been preaching any particular religious message which has been the downfall of most ID/Creationisms “supporters”.

I see you are practicing what you are preaching, however, your practice makes it clear that you are preaching a religious motivation whether you like it or not.

Why ?

Because every single one of your arguments follows the DI songbook.

Your argument is nothing more than “guilt-by-association.”

Plenty of nonsense about equal-time for pseudoscience, politics, and the law but absolutely no observable evidence that would support your case.

There is no observable evidence for macroevolution either, because macroevolution in progress cannot be directly observed. The only predictions that evolution theory can make in regard to macroevolution are predictions of likely future finds of more circumstantial evidence of macroevolution. For example, the fossil record is used to make predictions of likely future finds of “missing link” fossils. Comparative anatomy is used to make predictions about genetics, and vice-versa. And so forth.

To me, one of the big problems with evolution theory is that I try to visualize in my mind the details of macroevolution actually taking place, and I just can’t do it. I just find evolution theory to be counter-intuitive and fundamentally contrary to reason.

In fact nothing to support anything more meaningful than Behe’s admission that IC was not science and IC is on a par with astrology and tarot cards.

I don’t agree with everything that Behe says. He has his opinions and I have mine.

Comment #74497

Posted by Steviepinhead on January 21, 2006 6:09 PM (e)

“BooHoo!”

“How dreadful!”

(Hey, somebody’s gotta say these things to deserving ignoramuses, and even Lenny can’t hang out here all the time…! Unlike Larry, some of us do have jobs and, um, lives.)

Comment #74498

Posted by Steviepinhead on January 21, 2006 6:13 PM (e)

LaLa:

To me, one of the big problems with evolution theory is that I try to visualize in my mind the details of macroevolution actually taking place, and I just can’t do it. I just find evolution theory to be counter-intuitive and fundamentally contrary to reason.

Fortunately for those of us who live our lives in awe of the complexity of the nature around and within us, nature need not be–and is not–constrained by the narrow confines of (what passes for) Larry’s mind.

Comment #74502

Posted by limpidense on January 21, 2006 6:32 PM (e)

(Sorry if this is too OT, or more appropriate for BW, or some such thing.)

I see that Larry “the” F. is still spending a LOT of obviously very free time blathering about something. EVERYTHING, it looks like.

I have my own time-wasting amusement, which involves characterizing people I find ridiculous, yet annoying, by casting about for the fictional character they most resemble. I generally use the movies since, although between Dickens and Shakespeare one could likely find an exact match for anyone (certainly any male), they provide the widest common source.

Anyway, watching “The Maltese Falcon” it struck me that, given everything I wasted my time reading by Larry “the” F., he really could best be described as a sort of “Wilmer,” the gunsel portrayed with hideous juvenility by Elisha Cook Jr.

I won’t insult the intelligence of others by explaining this, although I am interested in how effective this one is, or if someone has a better one.

Comment #74514

Posted by Steviepinhead on January 21, 2006 7:13 PM (e)

It’s a great flick, but I’m not able to call up that particular performance.

Without doing so, I’ll only say that “juvenility” may be a tad more, um, mature than is really appropriate in LaLa’s case. Though if Wilmer was ultimately incarcerated, that would bring us to “arrested development,” which would be getting pretty darn close…

Comment #74547

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 21, 2006 8:52 PM (e)

Fortunately for those of us who live our lives in awe of the complexity of the nature around and within us, nature need not be—and is not—constrained by the narrow confines of (what passes for) Larry’s mind.

now that i consider to be witty.

lalalarry-

ask yourself this question:

“Why is it that I find evolutionary theory to be counter-intuitive, but not relativity theory?”

can you answer that for yourself, honestly?

based on your history here, i doubt it, but don’t tell me, regardless of whatever your answer is.

‘cause i really don’t care.

I’m just hoping that eventually you will figure out that you are seriously deluding yourself and simply go away.

after weeks of your inanity, that’s about the best i could hope for.

Comment #74560

Posted by limpidense on January 21, 2006 9:10 PM (e)

Wilmer is Sidney Greenstreet’s “Fatman’s” servant/gunman (and, possibly, lover) who carries himself, with self-consciously pretentious, impotent absurdity, as a real “tough guy.” He’s played for the fool until the end of the picture, when he is planned to take the fall for the other crooks, but manages to escape, disarmed and out the backdoor when the others are distracted.
As Spade notes on receiving his umpteenth warning from the baby-faced, impotent-even-when-armed gunsel, “the cheaper the crook, the gaudier the pattern.”

This style matches everything I did waste effort reading from Larry “the” F.: someone without the goods who seemed very, very desperate to be taken seriously by, well, anyone. I thought it a funny, good match, if only some nice man would deign to take Larry under his wing…

Comment #74564

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 21, 2006 9:26 PM (e)

Comment #73139 posted by Tom Curtis on January 18, 2006 08:08 AM

Given that the pro-creationist advisors to and members of the state board of education have been negligent in formulating the model lesson plan; and given that local boards of education are likely to suffer financial loss of they follow the pro-creationist advise; is their any possibility that those pro-creationists would be personally liable for the losses?

Your question raises an interesting point regarding the El Tejon, Calif. case. One important way in which the El Tejon, Calif. case differed from the Kitzmiller v. Dover case is that the school officials in the former case were sued as individuals as well as in their official capacities (in Dover, the named defendants were the school board and the school district). The El Tejon case was filed as Hurst v. Newman, not Hurst v. El Tejon. Hurst v. Newman named as defendants the five school board members (including the two members who voted against the ID course), the district superintendent, the principal, and the teacher. However, I presume that as public employees, they probably have immunity from liability for some of the things that they might do in their official capacities. The school board members in the Dover case were believed by many to have been individual defendants, though, even though they were not.

The Hurst v. Newman complaint named six plaintiffs’ attorneys of record (compared to 9-10 in the Dover case), showing a repeat of the tactic of driving up the potential award of legal costs by having an excessive number of plaintiffs’ attorneys.

The complaint filed in Hurst v. Newman is on —
http://www2.ncseweb.org/hurst/Hurst_v_Newman_Complaint.pdf

Other information about the case is on –
http://www2.ncseweb.org/wp/?page_id=111
— and on –
http://www.mountainenterprise.com/IntellDesign-stories/index.html

Comment #74668

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 22, 2006 6:54 AM (e)

It is clear that there has been a lot of misinformation here about the Jan. 10 meeting of the Ohio board of education.

The website of the Ohio Citizens for Science is on http://www.ohioscience.org/. Under the heading “Act Now,” this website shows that OCS announced before the meeting that the issue of the evolution lesson plan was on the board’s agenda –
“Ohio’s board of education will meet next Tuesday Jan 10 in Columbus to decide whether to comply with the recent federal court ruling against intelligent-design creationism and its disingenuous ‘teach the controversy’ ploy.” ( “Comply”? Comply with what? This federal court ruling has no jurisdiction in Ohio and would not apply even if it did ).

However, I checked the board’s Jan. 10 agenda, and the evolution lesson plan was not on it ! So why did the OCS say that it was ?

Only further down did the “Act Now” announcement indicate that the evolution lesson plan was not on the board’s agenda – “You can arrive around 1pm and speak out in ‘Public commentary on non-action items.’ “

After the board meeting, the OCS webpage added, “A motion to remove the Critical Analysis of Evolution lesson plan from the science curriculum was defeated 8-9 at the Ohio Board of Education meeting on January 10, 2006….…. It was not originally on the agenda, but was added as an emergency measure because of the potential for litigation after the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision.”

Was this motion really an emergency measure ? Absolutely not ! Announcing that the vote would be held at the February board meeting would almost certainly have prevented the filing of a lawsuit prior to that meeting. And even if a lawsuit were filed in the meantime, there would have been plenty of time to delete the lesson plan and reach an out-of-court settlement if the board so desired (personally, though, I think that the lawsuit threat is a bluff, because the issues here are really too vague for a lawsuit).

The OCS website said, “Several OCS members were present and spoke at the public participation session at the end of the meeting. Because the motion was not an agenda item, there was no opportunity for them to speak before the vote.”

It was wrong to hold the vote before hearing the public comments, even if the motion was not an agenda item. This action by the Board was bad enough to be illegal under the Brown Act of California (I don’t know what the corresponding Ohio laws or regulations are). Laws and regulations about public comments generally do not require holding the vote afterwards because it is too obvious ! Also, in the Board’s agendas, the public comment period at the end of a meeting is for “non-action” items, not for non-agenda items. The motion on the lesson plan was an action item because a vote was taken on it.

Is the board’s decision final ? Probably not — otherwise the matter would probably have been an agenda item.

=========================================
“I’m from Missouri. You’ll have to show me.” —- Willard Duncan Vandiver

Comment #74693

Posted by Bob O'H on January 22, 2006 8:27 AM (e)

I see that Larry “the” F. is still spending a LOT of obviously very free time blathering about something. EVERYTHING, it looks like.

I have my own time-wasting amusement, which involves characterizing people I find ridiculous, yet annoying, by casting about for the fictional character they most resemble. I generally use the movies since, although between Dickens and Shakespeare one could likely find an exact match for anyone (certainly any male), they provide the widest common source.

Ignatius J. Reilly?

RBH: tell us when to stop. Please.

Bob

Comment #74698

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 22, 2006 8:40 AM (e)

I think that instead of arguing about the specific contents of the evolution lesson plans, it would be better to argue against the concept of the lesson plans in general –

(1) Introducing supplemental material would confuse the students if that material were not consistent with the material in the textbooks. Textbooks often come with their own sets of questions, suggestions for student projects, and teachers’ guides for presenting the material.

(2) It is generally a bad idea to spoonfeed answers to the students, even as a starting point for their own research.

I mentioned the above ideas before, but they were kind of lost in all the comments.

Also, I have been thinking some more about the Jan. 10 meeting of the Ohio board of education. As I noted, the evolution lesson plan was not on the board’s agenda. Then what were the reporters and television crews doing at the meeting if some board action about the lesson plan was not anticipated ? Do they regularly attend the monthly board meetings? I doubt it. They left the meeting early after the vote on the lesson plan was taken — that was all they were interested in !!

Also, the board knew darn well that the Dover decision was expected to be released well before the Jan. meeting, because the approximate release date of the Dover decision was announced beforehand, and the decision was released three weeks before the meeting, giving plenty of time to add the matter of the lesson plan to the agenda ( under the Brown Act of Calif., only 72 hours notice is required for an agenda item ). There was no big surprise. In other words, the matter was deliberately left off the agenda so that it could be introduced as an emergency matter, giving the board a phony excuse to hold the vote before hearing the public comments. This sort of thing happened to me at a meeting of a Los Angeles commission — I know how these crooks operate.

I have thoroughly demolished the arguments that Wesley Elsberry used to kick me off his thread, “On the Other Hand.” See http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/01/on_the_other_ha.html#comment-74342 The only counter-argument I was given an opportunity to answer on his thread was the claim that Ohio is not part of California. I have not heard from him in quite a while.

Comment #74702

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 22, 2006 8:55 AM (e)

Comment #74693 posted by Bob O’H on January 22, 2006 08:27 AM

BobTheBoob said,

I see that Larry “the” F. is still spending a LOT of obviously very free time blathering about something. EVERYTHING, it looks like.

RBH: tell us when to stop. Please.

You have my permission to stop right now. No one ever said that you have to read any of my posts. And frankly, I wish you would just ignore them. You have not made any intelligent responses to them. The only response you made to my posts on the “On the Other Hand” thread was the asinine one of pointing out that Ohio is not part of California.

Comment #74709

Posted by Paul Flocken on January 22, 2006 9:17 AM (e)

You have my permission to stop right now. No one ever said that you have to read any of my posts. And frankly, I wish you would just ignore them. You have not made any intelligent responses to them. The only response you made to my posts on the “On the Other Hand” thread was the asinine one of pointing out that Ohio is not part of California.

Your damned arrogant. You do realize that you are posting in Dr. Hoppe’s forum? You are the guest. Why not remember that.

insincerely,
Paul

Comment #74738

Posted by k.e. on January 22, 2006 10:25 AM (e)

Bob O’H u r a devil ;> Ignatius J. Reilly? indeed hahahahah

I’m awaiting now for Donald Rumsfeld to weigh in, as he did a couple of weeks ago regarding Venezuela’s recent arms purchases, and say “I’m just asking, what in the world is the threat that Venezuela sees that makes them want to have all those books?”

from

President Quixote.

Larry here is a bit of free advice if you want to indulge in the “fools journey” why not take on a more noble cause like this one

A Semiotic Heuristic for the Greenie Genre.

Now Larry I’m glad you agree with me when earlier I characterized your argument as leaving out your religious opinion in an attempt to hoodwink others by saying: “guilt-by-association”[with the DI]

But since you want to have pseudo-science taught, why don’t you push to have the semiotics of tarot reading and astrology, as Behe has characterized ID and IC, as a course with your friends in Ohio.

Comment #74825

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 22, 2006 1:38 PM (e)

Comment #74709 posted by Paul Flocken on January 22, 2006 09:17 AM

****You have my permission to stop right now. No one ever said that you have to read any of my posts. And frankly, I wish you would just ignore them. You have not made any intelligent responses to them. The only response you made to my posts on the “On the Other Hand” thread was the asinine one of pointing out that Ohio is not part of California.****

Your damned arrogant. You do realize that you are posting in Dr. Hoppe’s forum? You are the guest. Why not remember that.

How is my above statement arrogant? The guy obviously wanted to stop, so I did him a favor by giving him permission to do so.

As for my being just a “guest,” the “crew” of Panda’s Thumb should recognize that it is the commenters who make Panda’s Thumb what it is.

And I am the one who recognized that the evolution lesson plan was deliberately omitted from the board’s agenda in order to give a lame excuse for holding the vote before hearing the public comments. The Ohio Citizens for Science and the media didn’t have a clue.

Comment #74830

Posted by RBH on January 22, 2006 1:48 PM (e)

LArry wrote

And I am the one who recognized that the evolution lesson plan was deliberately omitted from the board’s agenda in order to give a lame excuse for holding the vote before hearing the public comments. The Ohio Citizens for Science and the media didn’t have a clue.

You “recognized” nothing but a spurious signal embedded in noise, since the facts on the ground belie your interpretation.

RBH

Comment #74857

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 22, 2006 2:48 PM (e)

As for my being just a “guest,” the “crew” of Panda’s Thumb should recognize that it is the commenters who make Panda’s Thumb what it is.

We’ve had a commenter tell us that we didn’t dare ban him, that PT would wither and die without him. As I have noted before, our site visits have gone up since then.

While many of our commenters are quite well-informed and provide appreciable content here, there are others whose absence would, on the whole, be rated an improvement in the general conditions.

Comment #74860

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 22, 2006 2:56 PM (e)

While many of our commenters are quite well-informed and provide appreciable content here, there are others whose absence would, on the whole, be rated an improvement in the general conditions.

psst, Larry *poke*

Comment #74881

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 22, 2006 4:19 PM (e)

Once again, I will point out that Larry does indeed provide a useful service here. Not only does he show all the lurkers just how vapid and content-less ID defenses are, but Larry provides a convenient target for everyone to blast away at, thus preventing yet another pointless and useless civil war.

And I will repeat once again that I don’t think Larry is really an IDer – he’s just a crank who gets off on attracting condemnation upon himself. No real IDer could go half as long as Larry has without dragging his religious opinions into everything.

Comment #74911

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 22, 2006 7:25 PM (e)

Comment #74830 posted by RBH on January 22, 2006 01:48 PM

LArry wrote

“And I am the one who recognized that the evolution lesson plan was deliberately omitted from the board’s agenda in order to give a lame excuse for holding the vote before hearing the public comments. The Ohio Citizens for Science and the media didn’t have a clue.”

You “recognized” nothing but a spurious signal embedded in noise, since the facts on the ground belie your interpretation.

Here are the “facts.” The expectation that the evolution lesson plan would be on the board’s January agenda was so strong that the Ohio Citizens for Science and the media did not even bother to check the agenda to see whether it actually was. This expectation was especially strong because the Dover decision ruled against ID as well as against the religious motivations of the Dover school board members. The media even sent television crews, and television crews are not sent where there is no expectation of something big happening. And no one expressed surprise that the lesson plan was not on the agenda. And how was it that something that had the support of nearly half of the board members present – the proposal to remove the lesson plan – was not on the agenda ? The Dover decision was released three weeks before the board’s January meeting and was anticipated long before that, leaving plenty of time to consider the decision’s impact on Ohio. Furthermore, as I pointed out, scheduling the vote for the February meeting probably would have prevented any lawsuits from being filed in the interim, and there would still have been plenty of time to reach an out-of-court settlement if a lawsuit were filed in the interim. Ironically, the majority of the board members in this so-called “emergency” vote voted to accept the risk (probably small) of a lawsuit. “Emergency,” my eye !

Comment #74932

Posted by RBH on January 22, 2006 8:23 PM (e)

Larry wrote

Here are the “facts.” The expectation that the evolution lesson plan would be on the board’s January agenda was so strong that the Ohio Citizens for Science and the media did not even bother to check the agenda to see whether it actually was.

False. The Board’s agenda is published well in advance of the meeting. The decision by a Board member to offer the motion to delete the creationist lesson plan was made the Sunday night before the meeting began on Monday. As in his various “legal” analyses, Larry is making up “facts”. How do I know? I was there when the decision was made.

But then, making up “facts” is endemic among creationists.

RBH

Comment #74933

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 22, 2006 8:25 PM (e)

Comment #74857 posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 22, 2006 02:48 PM

“As for my being just a ‘guest,’ the ‘crew’ of Panda’s Thumb should recognize that it is the commenters who make Panda’s Thumb what it is.”

We’ve had a commenter tell us that we didn’t dare ban him, that PT would wither and die without him. As I have noted before, our site visits have gone up since then.

I was not talking just about myself – I was talking about the commenters in general.

I never said that I am essential here, or even that I am terribly important. PT was obviously doing quite well before I arrived. But I don’t feel I am being immodest by saying that I am one of the star commenters here, if not the star commenter. Consider –

(1) On the “Go Read” thread, I counted 15 direct replies to a single post of mine. Senseless posts here do not get so much attention.

(2) Commenters here frequently take potshots at me even when I am not involved in the discussion.

(3) Urging the equivalent of a “secondary boycott,” one commenter said that the way to get rid of me is to ban all commenters who reply to me ! A few minutes or a few hours later, he himself replied to me ! I have no respect for the toadies here who encourage the “crew” to tyrannize other commenters.

For all I know, I could be the best “troll” ( your name for me ) in PT’s history.

Comment #74940

Posted by Stephen Elliott on January 22, 2006 8:37 PM (e)

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 22, 2006 08:25 PM (e)

For all I know, I could be the best “troll” ( your name for me ) in PT’s history…

LOL.
I have to admire your style.

BTW. You are fun, Larry.

OT. Are you an individual or a tag team?

Comment #74980

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 22, 2006 11:02 PM (e)

Senseless posts here do not get so much attention.

On the contrary. Senseless comments made here on PT often attract much attention. That doesn’t mean that they are a necessary feature when they exceed a decent moderation in frequency of occurrence.

Comment #74984

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 22, 2006 11:19 PM (e)

OT:

Wes, I’m trying to track down the definition of science that AAAS uses.

have you run across it anywhere?

thanks

Comment #75004

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 23, 2006 4:28 AM (e)

Comment #74932 posted by RBH on January 22, 2006 08:23 PM

Larry wrote –
“Here are the ‘facts.’ The expectation that the evolution lesson plan would be on the board’s January agenda was so strong that the Ohio Citizens for Science and the media did not even bother to check the agenda to see whether it actually was.”

False. The Board’s agenda is published well in advance of the meeting. The decision by a Board member to offer the motion to delete the creationist lesson plan was made the Sunday night before the meeting began on Monday.

OK, that would explain why the reporters and the television crews were there — they can respond quickly. But how do you explain the following advance notice that was given in the website of the Ohio Citizens for Science – “ACT NOW! Ohio’s board of education will meet next Tuesday Jan 10 in Columbus to decide whether to comply with the recent federal court ruling against intelligent-design creationism and its disingenuous ‘teach the controversy’ ploy” ? The OCS knew that no proposal to delete the lesson plan was on the agenda ( I take back what I said about the OCS not knowing ), because the self-contradictory “ACT NOW” notice also said, “You can arrive around 1pm and speak out in ‘Public commentary on non-action items,’ or you can arrive any time after 8 am.” (emphasis added). I now suspect that the OCS and the board member who introduced the motion conspired to blindside the opposition – the member would make the motion and the OCS would provide the warm bodies ( who were not permitted to testify before the vote ) to show public support for it. There was no honest reason to wait for the last minute to introduce the proposal to delete the lesson plan, because the member who introduced the proposal had weeks or months to think about it before the January board meeting, as did the seven other members who also voted in favor of the proposal. And I suspect that the only purpose in giving the tiny amount of advance notice was to invite the media to the meeting.

But then, making up “facts” is endemic among creationists.

I am not a creationist. I could be considered to be a designist or an irreducible-complexitist, but mostly I am just an anti-evolutionist.

Comment #75014

Posted by k.e. on January 23, 2006 7:34 AM (e)

Now Larry I’m glad you agree with me when earlier I characterized your argument as leaving out your religious opinion which IS EQUIVALENT to creationist in an attempt to hoodwink others by saying: I am not a creationist. I could be considered to be a designist or an irreducible-complexitist, but mostly I am just an anti-evolutionist.

So let me get this right

Larry you have no religion you wish to promote except a denial of the factual evidence for evolution?
So do you deny religion as well?

That would make you a completely useless freeloader, with not one positive contribution to make on the subject,if I can be direct.

Comment #75019

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 23, 2006 8:04 AM (e)

mostly I am just an anti-evolutionist.

Like I said, Larry is just a crank.

Comment #75021

Posted by ben on January 23, 2006 8:11 AM (e)

Maybe Larry’s a Raelian.

I wonder if his theory about the origin of biological diversity has anything to do with the real story behind meteor showers?

Comment #75024

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 23, 2006 8:38 AM (e)

Comment #74980 posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 22, 2006 11:02 PM

“Senseless posts here do not get so much attention.”

On the contrary. Senseless comments made here on PT often attract much attention. That doesn’t mean that they are a necessary feature when they exceed a decent moderation in frequency of occurrence.

You don’t have the right to criticize anyone. You have been deleting my on-topic posts from your threads merely because you disagree with them, without even giving me a chance to defend my position – not that I should be required to persuade you about anything. Here is an example, Comment 74342 from your “On the Other Hand” thread –

Larry Fafarman wrote:

And I gave a common-sense reason why public comments should be heard before a vote rather than after.

What Larry has failed to establish is that the public commentary period was intended for the topic of the vote. ********* I consider this the end to topicality for the “impropriety” issue. Further comments taking it up should be on the Bathroom Wall. You can put them there, or I will.

The issue of whether “the public commentary period was intended for the topic of the vote” had not even been raised before you raised it above. And any three-year-old can see that the comments were about the vote’s topic, that topic being the proposal to delete the evolution lesson plan. In a sense, though, the public commentary period that was used was not really “intended” for comments about this topic, because this period was specifically for “non-action items” whereas this topic was an action item because it had been voted on — but that fact only reinforces my point that the comments should have been heard before the vote.

I can make a fool of myself here without affecting PT’s reputation, because I am not a member of the “crew.” But what about you ?

I just wish that Scientific American magazine were more careful about which websites receive its Web awards.

Comment #75032

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 23, 2006 9:37 AM (e)

You have been deleting my on-topic posts from your threads merely because you disagree with them

This falsehood does not become true, no matter how many times it is repeated. I move comments to the Bathroom Wall for the purpose of preserving good discussion on the thread. There are quite a number of posts with which I disagree that remain in my threads.

Comment #75036

Posted by RBH on January 23, 2006 9:51 AM (e)

Larry wrote

There was no honest reason to wait for the last minute to introduce the proposal to delete the lesson plan, because the member who introduced the proposal had weeks or months to think about it before the January board meeting, as did the seven other members who also voted in favor of the proposal. And I suspect that the only purpose in giving the tiny amount of advance notice was to invite the media to the meeting. (Bolding added)

Since Larry is so good at correlated randomly related events, let him try correlating events that are actually related. The Kitzmiller decision was published on December 20, 2005 three weeks before the January 2006 monthly OBOE meeting and after the December 2005 OBOE meeting. Is it unnatural that OCfS would then plan to make public comments it in the non-action items portion of the OBE meeting at the next opportunity after the decision was published?

I think Larry is auditioning for a job as Casey Luskin’s gofer. He has the requisite disregard for the facts down pat.

I will add that Larry’s use of “no honest reason” would be immediately subject to moderation on Infidels. I will leave it here as a testament to Larry’s style of “debate”. I think it’s of some interest to lurkers to see the nature of the arguments creationists offer, even creationists who style themselves merely as “anti-evolutionists”, concealing their genuine agenda. That last is another important qualification for the Luskin gofer job.

RBH

Comment #75042

Posted by Ubernatural on January 23, 2006 10:34 AM (e)

irreducible-complexitist

ahh, in other words, a flagellator???

Comment #75082

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 23, 2006 12:57 PM (e)

Comment #75036 posted by RBH on January 23, 2006 09:51 AM

Is it unnatural that OCfS would then plan to make public comments it in the non-action items portion of the OBE meeting at the next opportunity after the decision was published?

No, there is nothing unnatural about that. What is unnatural is that the OCS falsely indicated that a proposal to delete the evolution lesson plan was on the agenda: “ACT NOW! Ohio’s board of education will meet next Tuesday Jan 10 in Columbus to decide whether to comply with the recent federal court ruling against intelligent-design creationism and its disingenuous ‘teach the controversy’ ploy” ( actually, this statement even suggested that the board was meeting for the sole purpose of dealing with that proposal, but I’ll overlook that because I don’t want to be nitpicking here ). What the OCS should have said was that an effort would be made to persuade the board to respond to (not “comply with”) the federal court ruling by deleting the evolution lesson plan. What was also unnatural – for reasons that I have amply shown – was the introduction of this proposal as an emergency motion needing a vote during the meeting. There was no real emergency. What the board should have done was postpone a vote on the motion until the February meeting. Under California’s Brown Act, an emergency vote requires either (1) a catastrophe or something close to it or (2) a situation that came to the attention of the governmental body after the deadline for adding items to the agenda ( it is inevitable that someone will comment again that Ohio is not part of California ).

Once at a meeting of a Los Angeles County commission, as I was starting to give my 3-minute speech on a particular topic, the chairman interrupted me and then made a motion to hold an immediate vote on that topic, and the vote was held. I was really pissed off royally.

I will add that Larry’s use of “no honest reason” would be immediately subject to moderation on Infidels.

I originally was going to say that there was “no good reason” to wait for the last minute to introduce the proposal, but then changed it to “no honest reason.” I realized that the board member had a “good” reason to introduce the proposal at the last minute — to blindside the opposition.

Comment #75086

Posted by k.e. on January 23, 2006 1:05 PM (e)

Gee Larry it took you less than 3 minutes to piss off that chairman?(giggle)
I hope you practiced your speech for weeks before hand.

Comment #75088

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 23, 2006 1:16 PM (e)

Comment #75032 posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 23, 2006 09:37 AM

“You have been deleting my on-topic posts from your threads merely because you disagree with them”

This falsehood does not become true, no matter how many times it is repeated. I move comments to the Bathroom Wall for the purpose of preserving good discussion on the thread. There are quite a number of posts with which I disagree that remain in my threads.

Considering what you did to me (see Comment #75024 of this thread), you are only making yourself look even more foolish by making lame excuses for your actions. The only proper thing for you to do now is apologize and promise not to do it again.

Comment #75093

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 23, 2006 1:48 PM (e)

Comment #75014 posted by k.e. on January 23, 2006 07:34 AM

Larry you have no religion you wish to promote except a denial of the factual evidence for evolution?

I deny evolution itself. I don’t deny the factual evidence for evolution.

So do you deny religion as well?

That has nothing to do with it.

That would make you a completely useless freeloader, with not one positive contribution to make on the subject,if I can be direct.

That is just your own opinion, if I can be direct.

Comment #75103

Posted by Steviepinhead on January 23, 2006 2:10 PM (e)

If you would think really hard, LaLa, about your response above, particularly the “just your own opinion” line, you might even learn something about yourself from yourself.

Unlikely, but not impossible.

What makes one opinion better than another, LaLa? Why are some opinions “just” opinions, while other opinions command credibility?

Any ideas?

Comment #75114

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 23, 2006 2:54 PM (e)

ahh, in other words, a flagellator???

lol. exactly!

Comment #75120

Posted by Stephen Elliott on January 23, 2006 3:21 PM (e)

Posted by Ubernatural on January 23, 2006 10:34 AM (e)

… irreducible-complexitist

ahh, in other words, a flagellator???

Well, Larry does seem to be the PT “whipping boy”.

Comment #75193

Posted by Stephen Elliott on January 23, 2006 7:29 PM (e)

Posted by Ubernatural on January 23, 2006 10:34 AM (e)

… irreducible-complexitist

ahh, in other words, a flagellator???

Larry does seem to enjoy “flogging a dead horse”.

Comment #75225

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 23, 2006 9:38 PM (e)

Well, Larry does seem to be the PT “whipping boy”.

Most cranks are indeed masochists. They enjoy being “repressed”. (shrug)